Tradition has it, like Father Christmas, that each year the Easter Rabbit brings eggs as a gift to mark the coming of spring. Both egg and hare are ancient symbols of fertility and as well, since eggs are forbidden to Catholics during Lent (hence pancakes on Shrove Tuesday to rid the larder of eggs and most animal products, except fish in some instances) it highlights the end of fasting. However, somewhere along the lines these eggs have become decorated, filled with presents and now in the ever popular form of chocolate. The most exquisite egg gifts undoubtedly are the ones made by the house of Faberge from the years 1885 to 1917. They were made as small charms and worn on a chain around the neck. And then came the larger commissions made for the Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II of Russia which today are often referred to as the ‘Imperial’ Faberge eggs. The very first was a gift from Alexander to his wife Maria, inspired by an egg of her Aunt’s. Simply named ‘Hen Egg’ the white enamelled shell opened up to a golden-crafted yoke, which in turn opened to reveal a multi-coloured golden hen, only to have hidden inside this a minute diamond model of the Imperial crown from which a tiny ruby was dangling from. 50 were made in total. A further 2 called ‘Constellation’ and ‘Karelian Birch’ were ordered in 1917 to be ready the following year, however the abdication and assassination of Nicholas and his family deemed it a pointless venture. 14 more were commissioned, 7 for the Russian industrialist Alexander Kelch and a select few other families such as the Rothschild’s (which was sold in 2007 by Christies for a record £8.9 million) and the Duchess of Marlborough. 57 still survive today. This year Faberge is hosting the world’s largest Easter egg hunt with 210 eggs dotted over 12 of London’s most vibrant areas. Made by different artists such as the Chapman brothers, Marc Quinn, Bruce Oldfield, Sir Peter Blake, Rob Ryan, Zandra Rhodes, Bompas & Parr, Theo Fennel, Mr Brainwash and Sir Ridley Scott, the hunting out will reveal codes that, when texted, will open the chance of winning your very own Faberge Egg charm. All eggs are being auctioned off with all proceeds going to the charities ‘Action for children’ and ‘Elephant family’. Egg hunting asides, it has been a appreciable excuse to explore this amazing city and a much-wanted excuse to come home and gorge oneself with a big chocolate egg…or two. If you’ve missed the chance to hunt the eggs, they will all be on view in Covent Garden from Easter weekend.
ST. CHRISTOPHER’S PLACE
ST. JAMES’ PARK
WISHING YOU ALL A HAPPY EASTER!