Russian Decorative Arts by Cynthia Coleman Sparke
Published by: Antique Collectors' Club
"Some lucky person is going to pick up a decorative Easter egg at a car boot sale one day and find they have won the arts lottery when it sells for £20m" says author Cynthia Coleman Sparke, whose book is being launched at Bonhams.
With Easter drawing near and the recent discovery of The Third Imperial Easter Egg, thought lost for over 100 years, all eyes are on the legendary Russian designer, Faberge. Each of the 50 Faberge eggs created for the Tsar took one year to complete - from the original conception to delivery on Good Friday each Easter.
Russian Decorative Arts is an informative guide to Russian artworks and their historical context written by Cynthia Coleman Sparke, Russian Art consultant at Bonhams. Published by Antique Collectors' Club, the book covers a wide range of crafts from Faberge, jewellery, woodwork, hardstone, glass and porcelain to precious metals, explained against the fascinating backdrop of Russian history. Each topic is detailed with an illustrated chapter which introduces the creative technique, its specific Russian characteristics and an overview of the principle makers.
Pre-Revolutionary Russia is explored through the glittering artefacts of the Tsarist era from as far back as the 16th and 17th centuries and focusing in particular on works created in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, as night fell on the Imperial rule.
Russia's last great Imperial celebration took place at the Winter Palace in St Petersburg with the lavish ball of 1913 celebrating 300 years of Romanov rule. The finest gowns, jewels, snuff boxes, and banqueting tableware of the Tsarist era were sumptuously displayed then for the last time.
The outbreak of World War I in 1914 and the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 brought such opulence to an end. In 1918, while under house arrest, the entire Russian Royal family was executed by Bolshevik authorities and the Imperial era ended permanently.
Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russians have been eager to repatriate their lost heritage. Works by jewellers and silversmiths to the Tsar and Tsarinas are particularly sought after today as status symbols, with the market for pre-Revolutionary decorative arts touching a wide audience - from museum curators to flea markets bargain hunters.
Cynthia Coleman Sparke was born into to a family of Russian art collectors and has lived on and off in Moscow and St Petersburg. After running the Russian department at Christie's New York, she worked with the Fabergé and Imperial porcelain holdings of the Hillwood Museum in Washington D.C. (the largest collection of Russian decorative arts outside of Russia). Later, Cynthia worked on a project in St Petersburg at the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoe Selo, helping with the restoration of Tsar Nicholas II's last residence - the subject of her Master's thesis from the Bard Graduate Centre. She is currently a consultant for Bonhams auctioneers, specialising in Russian works of art.
For further information please contact Clara Heard, Antique Collectors' Club Tel: 01394 389979, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.antiquecollectorsclub.com
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Antique Collectors' Club
Formed in 1966, the Antique Collectors' Club is a world renowned publisher of definitive books on antiques and decorative arts. The books are beautifully illustrated and most are published in hardback. In addition to books, the company also publishes Antique Collecting Magazine and sells many titles from selected publishers whose ranges complement their own via ACC Distribution. Throughout the company's 45 years, ACC has refined the art of publishing to the point where its books are both scholarly and informative but still eminently readable by collectors at all levels. To see the full range of publications, please visit www.antiquecollectorsclub.com
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com