The fabulous Fabergé eggs invite you in, but the world of treasures that awaits in this collector’s cabinet will keep you lingering.
A Collector’s Cabinet
Over 400 glistening chalices, silver-covered icons, splendid Fabergé objects, and even a diamond-studded crown are perfectly at home in this intimate setting tucked among Hillwood’s stately rooms.
While designing Hillwood with a public audience in mind, Marjorie Merriweather Post found that she needed a space for the small precious objects and the liturgical objects that were not appropriate for displaying in large rooms intended for entertaining. She built this treasury, or collector’s cabinet, and called it the Icon Room.
Post’s collecting tastes are easily recognized in this space she created to display her most intricately made pieces and liturgical items. She favored beautifully crafted objects, preferably with imperial provenance—and the Fabergé clocks, cane handles, picture frames and, of course, imperial Easter eggs in this treasury room embrace her exacting tastes.
After viewing the stunning, midnight blue Twelve Monograms Easter Egg and pink Catherine the Great Easter Egg, both gifts from Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas II, to his mother, Maria Fedorovna, take a close look at the pale green bowenite clock, which was modeled after an 18th-century English clock that belonged to Nicholas II’s mother, Dowager Empress Maria Fedorovna. The portraits of her son and daughter-in-law Empress Alexandra appear at the sides.
Linger a while
The icons and chalices in the Icon Room represent the types of objects Post acquired through government sponsored storeroom sales and commission shops in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. These discoveries ignited an interest and passion for Post in Russian art and culture, which she maintained for the rest of her life, and most of the most fabulous pieces in Hillwood’s Russian holdings on display in the Icon Room entered the collection long after Post left the Soviet Union.
The dazzling Nuptial Crown that Empress Alexandra wore at her wedding to Nicholas II in 1894 is the only piece of imperial regalia outside of Russia today. Bands of diamonds are sewn onto the velvet-covered supports of this orb-shaped wedding crown, and a cross of six larger, old mine-cut diamonds surmounts it.