Royal Faberge and Radical Russia

This timeline provides the key moments linking Russian, British and wider European history providing context for these two contrasting exhibitions.

Russia entries are highlighted in RED;xNLx;;xNLx;Fabergé and Sandringham entries are highlighted in GREEN;xNLx;;xNLx;British/ world contextual events are highlighted in BLUE

1861-01-01 05:41:58

Carl Fabergé begins exploring Europe.

He receives tuition from goldsmiths in Germany, France and England, and savours the art treasures of renowned museums and galleries across Europe.

1861-03-03 05:41:58

Tsar Alexander II oversees reforms

Tsar Alexander II oversees a series of liberal reforms aimed at modernising Russia. The most significant reform saw the Emancipation of the serfs in 1861. A period of major social, political and economic upheaval ensues

1863-03-10 00:00:00

Prince of Wales marries

Albert Edward (Bertie), Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria’s eldest son marries Princess Alexandra of Denmark (Alix to her family). They begin life at Sandringham Hall in Norfolk.

1864-01-01 00:00:00

Danish Princesses Alexandra and Dagmar

Danish Princesses Alexandra and Dagmar, who will become the British and Russian consorts, will be enemies of the new German state

1864-01-01 00:00:00

Fabergé returns to Russia

Returning to St. Petersburg, Carl joins the family jewellery firm.

1864-02-01 00:00:00

Prussia at war with Denmark

Prussia wages war on Denmark, making major territorial gains in the first of the conflicts leading to German unification in 1871

1866-11-09 00:00:00

Princess Dagmar marries

Princess Dagmar of Denmark (Minny to her family) marries the Russian Tsarevich, the future Tsar Alexander III..

1881-03-13 23:51:37

Tsar Alexander III accedes to the Russian throne

Tsar Alexander III, as a result of his father’s assassination by political terrorists, accedes to the Russian throne and sets about returning Russia to absolutist rule.

1885-05-01 00:00:00

The House of Fabergé is appointed as court supplier.

Alexander III orders the first Fabergé Easter egg for his wife Maria Feodorovna (formerly Princess Dagmar). They will continue until his death in 1894. Tsar Nicholas II then doubles the commission, with one egg for his mother and another for his wife.

1896-05-26 00:00:00

Coronation of Tsar Nicholas II

Alexandra of Hesse (Victoria’s grand-daughter) becomes empress consort.

1900-02-27 10:29:20

Labour Party is founded

In Britain, the Labour Party is founded.

1900-04-15 10:29:20

Widespread migration

Widespread migration leads to Moscow and St. Petersburg accommodating populations of over one million people, placing them Europe’s ten most populous cities.

1900-04-15 10:29:20

Fabergé represents Russia at the World’s Fair in Paris.

His display – including flowers for the first time - wins the gold medal for work ‘reaching the extreme limits of perfection’.

1901-01-22 17:38:35

Queen Victoria dies

Queen Victoria dies and the nine year reign of King Edward VII (Bertie) begins. Nicholas II gives the Basket of Flowers egg to his wife Alexandra as an Easter gift

1901-04-20 17:38:35

Leo Tolstoy is excommunicated

Novelist and intellectual Leo Tolstoy is excommunicated from the Russian Orthodox Church, after sympathising with anarchism, pacifism and alternative religions.

1903-05-01 00:00:00

Fabergé branch in London

A Fabergé branch opens in London, the only one outside the Russian empire.

1904-02-08 00:24:52

Russo-Japanese war

The Russo-Japanese war (1904-1905) causes Fabergé to suspend production of imperial Easter eggs for two years

1905-01-01 00:24:52

Defeat to Japan

After a humiliating military defeat to Japan and widespread popular revolt, the Tsarist regime is forced into political concessions – including the establishment of the Duma (Russia’s first parliament) and the creation of basic civil rights.

1906-01-12 14:39:48

Election landslide

The Liberal Party wins an election landslide with a radical welfare programme that includes old age pensions and national insurance

1906-02-19 00:40:56

Fabergé receives Sandringham commission

The London Fabergé branch receives its biggest commission - to model animals on Edward VII and Alexandra’s beloved Sandringham estate in Norfolk

1907-08-31 22:44:10

Triple Entente created

Four years after Edward VII’s personal initiative to form a defensive alliance, Britain, France and Russia enter into a series of bilateral agreements which indirectly create the Triple Entente. This leaves Germany surrounded.

1909-04-29 22:44:10

People’s Budget

The Liberal Government announce a ‘People’s Budget’, which is initially blocked by the House of Lords, a move which leads to its powers being reduced in the Parliament Act of 1911.

1910-05-06 22:44:10

Edward VII dies

King George V accedes to the throne.

1913-02-14 22:44:10

Romanov dynasty tercentenary

The Romanov dynasty celebrates its tercentenary. Public events across the empire are greeted with apparent enthusiasm.

1914-08-04 14:30:19

Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna at Sandringham

Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna are together at Sandringham when war breaks out. With Russia and Britain joining forces against Germany, the dowager empress says, “My life’s work is complete”.

1914-08-04 14:30:19

Britain and Russia enter the First World

Britain and Russia enter the First World War against Germany and Austria-Hungary in August. Russia performs poorly, despite popular support.

1915-01-19 18:30:47

Fabergé’s London branch closes

In Russia, the firm turns to war production in base metals (pots, dishes, bullets and hand grenades). The Sandringham estate is hit in the first zeppelin raids. The Sandringham Company, a volunteer force in the Norfolk Regiment, is devastated at Gallipoli.

1915-08-01 21:56:23

Russia struggles on battlefield

Russia continues to struggle on the battlefield, losing much of its western borderlands. As a result, Nicholas II takes over as Commander in Chief of the Russian armies.

1915-12-19 19:31:44

Kazimir Malevich displays Black Square

Kazimir Malevich issues his artistic manifesto, From Cubism to Suprematism, and displays Black Square at the 'Last Exhibition of Futurist Painting (0.10)' in Petrograd (the renamed capital city).

1916-12-30 14:53:24

Rasputin murdered

In December, the key Romanov confidant Grigorii Rasputin is murdered in Petrograd by nobles concerned about his influence.

1917-03-08 18:31:18

February Revolution

The February revolution sees demonstrations in the capital turn into open revolt, forcing the abdication of Nicholas II. A self-appointed Provisional Government takes power, but Russia continues fighting in the war. Exiled opponents of the Tsarist regime, including Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin, return to Russia.

1917-10-25 09:45:44

October Revolution

Weakened by rapid inflation, political opposition and war losses, the Provisional Government narrowly survives a military coup in August. Lenin orchestrates the seizure of critical centres of power on October 25th by armed Bolsheviks in what they proclaim as the October Revolution.

1917-11-25 09:45:44

Vote for the Constituent Assembly

In November, Russians vote for the Constituent Assembly, the democratic Parliament promised by the Provisional Government. Lenin orders its suppression in favour of a Bolshevik dictatorship after his party fail to win a majority .

1918-03-03 01:38:47

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

The new Bolshevik government signs the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March, securing Russia’s exit from the war at the expense of vast territorial concessions .

1918-04-19 23:06:12

People’s Commissariat of Enlightenment created

The newly created People’s Commissariat of Enlightenment lends state support to radical artists who saw the revolution as an opportunity to further artistic visions and build a new proletarian culture .

1918-07-16 23:06:12

Civil War erupts

Civil War erupts between the Bolsheviks’ Red Army (led by Leon Trotsky) and their opponents, the Whites, a loose coalition of anti-Bolshevik forces scattered across Russia. In July, Nicholas II, his wife and children are murdered in Ekaterinburg by the Bolsheviks.

1918-11-01 19:58:53

House of Fabergé is closed

The House of Fabergé is closed and Carl Fabergé’s property is confiscated. He escapes on the last diplomatic train to leave revolutionary Petrograd for Riga. When revolution reaches Latvia in November, he flees to Germany. Most of the family reunite in Switzerland, where Carl dies in 1920

1918-11-11 23:06:12

First World War ends

In November, an armistice between the Allies and Germany ends the First World War.

1918-12-14 23:06:12

Suffrage in Britain

In December, suffrage is extended to all adult men and to women over 30 in Britain .

1919-03-09 16:42:46

Tatlin designs tower

Vladimir Tatlin designs a 400 metre high tower intended for the headquarters of the Communist International movement in Petrograd, but it is never built.

1919-04-01 06:52:17

Maria Feodorovna rescued

George V sends the warship HMS Marlborough to the Crimea on to rescue Maria Feodorovna. She recuperates at Sandringham .

1921-03-01 06:52:17

Free market restored

The New Economic Policy restores elements of a free market in order to contain unrest and promote economic revival. In the Russian Civil War, White forces begin to disintegrate, leading a Red Army victory the following year.

1924-01-21 18:15:52

Lenin dies

After two years of failing health, Lenin dies. Petrograd will be renamed in Leningrad in his honour. Lenin’s death leads to a prolonged struggle for the Party leadership.

1924-01-22 21:00:40

First Labour government formed

In Britain, the first Labour government is formed.

1925-11-25 07:33:44

Alexandra dies at Sandringham

1926-05-03 07:33:44

General Strike

In Britain, the Trades Union Congress calls a General Strike in May in a dispute over wage cuts and worsening working conditions.

1927-12-01 07:33:44

Joseph Stalin becomes leader

Joseph Stalin emerges as the clear leader of the Soviet Union by outmanoeuvring rivals Trotsky, Kamenev and Zinoviev, and identifying himself as Lenin’s true heir.

1928-10-01 07:33:44

Socialism in one country’

Stalin vows to build ‘socialism in one country’ without the need for revolution or external support. Stalin implements a Five Year Plan of rapid industrialization and agricultural collectivization.

1928-10-13 07:33:44

Maria Feodorovna dies

Maria Feodorovna dies in Denmark

1932-04-01 07:33:44

Socialist Realism becomes dominant

Four years after the beginning of Stalin’s cultural revolution (a campaign against intellectual opposition), Socialist Realism becomes the dominant art form in the Soviet Union. Artistic independence ends.

Royal Faberge and Radical Russia

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