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The flowers were hammered down at a total of £340,000 (plus buyer’s premium of 20%) this evening (June 11). The white flower ornament sold for £180,000 and the red berry version fetched £160,000 and both were sold to the same private buyer on the phone. 

Auctioneer Charles Hanson found the outstanding Russian objects on a routine valuation morning when a customer brought them to his saleroom inside a cardboard box and wrapped in an old tea towel.

Botanical studies

The precious metal and hardstone botanical studies, made c.1907-10, were given an estimate of £100,000-150,000 each ahead of the auction at Hanson's London saleroom, the Normansfield Theatre in Teddington.

One depicts a barberry bush with purpurine berries and jade leaves in a carved rock crystal vase, and the other is morning glory blossom of enamel gold and diamond flowers in a jade jardinière with aventurine quartz stand.

Only about 80 Fabergé botanical studies are known.

According to Franz Birbaum, Fabergé’s senior designer from 1896, this genre was inspired by Chinese art and came to Peter Carl Fabergé’s attention when the firm was called upon to repair a bunch of chrysanthemums from the palace of the Chinese Emperor.