A Russian silver and cloissoné enamel box

Feodor Ivanovich Rückert, Moscow, 1908-1917

Rectangular, the sides and hinged cover decorated in the pan-Slavic style in muted shades of blue, green, pink, purple, brown, and black with white enamel, the cover with a shaped oval en plein enameled scene from 'The Tale of the Scarlet Flower' by Aksakov; marked under base.

H: 1 1/8, W: 3 3/8, D: 2 3/8 in.


Private collection, New York
Estimate $30,000-50,000

Feodor Ivanovich Rückert (b. 1840, Moscow) was one of the most important Russian silver and goldsmiths, particularly within the context of his enamel work in the pan-Slavic style. From 1887, Rückert was a workmaster of Fabergé, and pieces are found both from his independent Moscow workshop as well as retailed by Fabergé.

The en plein enamel plaque is likely by Semachko, who worked in the Rückert studios as an enameller, predominantly for miniature painitings en plein. The offered lot is closely related to another recently discovered work by Rückert (sold Bonham's, London, 26 November, 2014, lot 103).

The Tale of the Scarlet Flower (Alen'kiy Tsvetovchik) is a popular Russian fairy tale known predominantly through the retelling by author Sergey Aksakov (1791-1859). First published in 1859 as an appendix in the famous Childhood Years of Grandson Bagrov (Detskie gody Bagrova-vnuka), the story is a variant of the Beauty and the Beast tale.

In Aksakov's retelling, a merchant is on his way abroad and calls his three daughters to him to tell them. The first asks for a golden kokoshnik adorned with gems, the second for a crystal mirror that always shows the viewer as young and beautiful, and the youngest daughter asks for the most beautiful scarlet flower he can find. The offered lot represents the second daughter, gazing intently into her magical crystal mirror.

Sold for $31,250 (buyer's premium included)