As a prominent British family living in 19th century Moscow, the McGills formed close family ties with other British families based in the city as well as the Russian aristocracy. Albert’s first cousin, Emma McGill, married Henry ‘Allan’ Talbot Bowe who had close ties with the Fabergé lineage, and became their retail representative in London in the early 20th century.
The jewellery elements of this consignment (most of them with the assayer’s mark for Ivan Sergeyevich Lebedkin of Moscow 1898-1914) generated competition way above modest expectations.
Bids of £6000 and £8200 were taken for a pair of Fabergé amethyst, diamond and white enamel lapel brooches and a charm necklace offered in a Fabergé blue satin-lined card box with eight enamelled or jewel-encrusted pendants, three marked for Fabergé.
Other unmarked but Fabergé-style gem-set lockets brought four-figure sums against two-figure estimates but perhaps most surprising was an unusual 6in (15cm) tan leather jewellery case with lift-out tray, c.1900.
Estimated at just £20-40, it took £1300 via an internet bidder using thesaleroom.com. The plated metal clasp – locked via a keyhole to the handle – included the inscription Patent Ang Deutchland Oesterreich, Engl Frankreich H&B Russl. Amerika.
The sale took place on September 3 and the buyer's premium was 15%.