Item #332

Large Russian silver and shaded enamel kovsh by Feodor Ruckert. For Price Please Inquire.

An Astonishingly Large Russian silver and shaded enamel kovsh by Feodor Ruckert, the round body and hook handle finely enameled with colorful flowers, a large double headed eagle and set with colored hardstone cabochons. length is 9.75″ and weight is 950 grams or 33.9oz. there is also a scratched inventory # on the base, 17974. which indicates that it was either made for or retailed by Faberge. please contact us at: (212) 682-2048 or email at:, For Price Please Inquire.
Numerous scholarly pages have been dedicated to the work of the famous Moscow craftsman Feodor Ruckert, who worked with Carl Faberge from 1887; of the man himself, however, hardly anything has been written. For a long time, Feodor Ivanovich biography was something of a blank book – indeed, experts were not even sure of his date of birth. Very recently, however, it has come to light that Moscow is home to a number of Ruckert`s descendants, who have faithfully preserved records of their family. For many years they preferred to keep silent about their ancestor, because the family`s German origins were the cause of various hardships during the First and Second World Wars. We were fortunate to meet two of Feodor Ivanovich`s grandchildren, Evgenia Mikhailovna Rudnyanskay and Zinaida Mikhailovna Shutovaya, who were kind enough to provide photographs, and talk to us about their famous grandfather. Friedrich Mauritz Ruckert was born in Alsace-Lorrame in 1840, and was brought over to Russia as a fourteen-year-old by either the Yusupov or the Golitsyn family. It was while working for his new masters that Feodor met his future bride a German seamstress called Emilie, who was born in Koenigsburg. The couples eldest child was Adele (1870-l938), then came Ida (1873-1958) and Pavel (1883-1926). These children were christened Lutherans, while their brothers Feodor (1888-1942), Anatoly (1892-?) and Alexander (1895-?) were christened Orthodox, a fact which suggests that their mother was Orthodox. After the death of his first wife, Feodor Ivanovich married Evgenia Kalistratovna Belovaya, who was related to the Smolenshchins who were daughters of the glass-blower who worked at the factory in Bolshaya Vishera. It seems likely that Feodor, Alexander and Anatoly were born to this second marriage. Ruckert’s second wife also bore him a son Evgeny and daughters Maria (1896-?) and Sophia. The family still has a photograph of the married couple taken at the dacha that they rented in Rastorguevo in the summer of 1899. At the time Evgenia Kalistratovna was pregnant, and on 29 August of that year she gave birth to a daughter. This was Sophia, whose daughter Evgenia Mikhailovna Rudnyanskaya provided us with much of our information. The family was a large one, and Evgenia Kalistratovna invited her niece Maria Vasilievna Belova to come from Vishera to help her in Moscow. Evgenia Kalistratovna died in 1902, and Feodor Ivanovich asked Maria to stay with the family, since she had helped raise the children, and they were all familiar with her. Maria Vasilievna replied, however, that she would only stay in the house as its mistress and as wife of Feodor Ivanovich. At the time he was sixty-four and she was twenty-three. The older children were categorically opposed to the match, particularly Ida, who was several years older than her stepmother. But the marriage took place, and the Ruckerts continued to live in their large house at 23/3 Vorontsovskaya Street. Feodor Ivanovich was remembered in the family as a kind and loving father and grandfather. He referred to women affectionately as “little stinkers” (Feodor Ivanovich spoke Russian with an accent) . He liked to warm his back by leaning up against the large stove in the sitting-room and the younger children and older grandchildren would run up and stand in a row along the stove with the patriarch of the family. Feodor Ivanovich`s daughters were given a good education. Adele Feodorovna. the eldest, spent many years working as a midwife in Moscow`s famous Grauerman Maternity Hospital, and later worked as a governess in the family of the famous Dr. Shershnyevsky- Lyuboshits. Ida taught German, perfomed amateur dramatics and was also an accomplished pianist. Sophia graduated from the Higher College of Trade and was also an expert enameler. All five sons worked in their father`s workshop which, according to their descendants, also employed young apprentices who lived not far off. According to Valentin Skurlov, two of the sons (and certainly Pavel) studied in the Imperial Stroganov School, but spent only a year there, since presumably it was difficult to combine their studies with work in the family business. The family is still in possession of some ceramic models from the Stroganov School and a watercolor sketch of remarkable beauty – in all likelihood the lid of a blotting-pad. On one side is a portrait of a Sirin bird, a popular character in Russian folklore and a favorite subject of artists of the neo-Russian style. On the horizon is a formal view of the Moscow Kremlin with its many cupolas, taken from the side of the Moscow River The same view was engraved on an enamel plate fired in the furnaces of the enamel workshop, a fragment of which is portrayed on the left side of the composition. This small work provides a unique record of the special qualities of the workshop, famous for its wonderful enamel artwork and for portraying the beauty and charm of ancient Russia. Feodor Ivanovich’s granddaughters confirm that gold ornaments were also produced in the workshops. They recall that for a long time their family possessed a horseshoe brooch and a brooch in the form of an anchor and cross, both the work of their grandfather. They also recall that a local priest commissioned an enamel and pearl brooch from Ruckert for his daughter-in-law Vera. The workshops were situated on the first floor of the house on Vorontsokvskaya Street. Feodor’s son Evgeny had the least involvement in the family business. He was a pianist, and used to perform alongside his sister Ida in the amateur theater attached to the gold thread factory. The theatre was set up by the famous K. Stanislavsky, who was a friend of Evgeny s, and often visited the Ruckerts’ house on Vorontsovskaya Street. Evgeny was also friends with the famous poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, who lived nearby, as well as Nikolai Bulganin, who was to become a leading figure in the Soviet era. All of them were guests at the hospitable Ruckert home. During the First World War only Evgeny remained in Moscow to look after the family house. In the summer of 1915 all the other members of the family were sent to Ufa and other provincial towns in Russia, from where they returned in 1916.The archives contain applications for Russian citizenship from some members of the family. Feodor Ivanovich died in.1917, and was buried in the Vedensky Cemetery. During the Soviet period some members of the family continued to pursue their traditional trade. Thus, according to Evgenia Mikhailovna, Feodor and Sophia produced enamel badges for the Ossoviakhim workshops. Gradually, however, the family ceased to be involved in the craft, and the house with the workshop had to be abandoned. There after, none of Ruckert’s descendants was involved in jewelry – making. During the Second World War the Ruckerts were again subject to persecution. It is known, for example, that Ida was exiled to Karaganda, while the wife of Anatoly Ruckert was sacked from her job in the passport office because of her German surname. Such is the irony of fate: a name which had once brought glory to the jeweler’s art in Russia became an unwelcome embarrassment in Soviet Russia. Ruckert’s descendants, who by now had Russian surnames, did their best to keep their origins quiet. Several of them, however, now reside in Moscow: his granddaughters Zinaida and Evgenia Mikhailovna (daughters of Sophia Feodorovna),his grandson Valentin Pavlovich (son of Pavel Feodorovich), his granddaughter Tatyana Feodorovna (daughter of Feodor Feodorovich), his grandson Evgeny Anatolyevich (son of Anatoly Feodorovich), as well as their children and grandchildren. They, together with experts in the held, are now trying to resurrect the memory of the family and the activities of the famous jeweler.