Amidst the whirl of parties, holidays, and country house weekends, Mrs Greville and her friends bought each other (or re-gifted) exquisite little treasures.

Fabergé creations, antique enamel boxes and jewellery passed between them. ‘So generous’, Mrs Greville reputedly used to say. 

Mrs Greville kept some particularly personal objects in her bedroom, but most were artfully laid out or displayed for guests to see and talk about, as signifiers of intimacy and influence with the rich and powerful.



The House of Fabergé

The House of Fabergé, goldsmith to the Russian Imperial court, opened their only foreign branch in London in 1903. It became a favourite haunt of the British royal court. Mrs Greville made purchases there no fewer than thirty-one times, including a carving of ‘Caesar’, King Edward VII’s wire fox terrier, which she gave to Queen Alexandra after the King’s death.

Fabergé's premises at 173 New Bond Street in 1911

Courtesy of Wartski, London

Mrs Greville’s Fabergé egg



Egg-shaped bibelot, rhodonite with hinge and clasp of rose-cut diamonds

Fabergé, 1914

The Fabergé egg is actually a bibelot, a small decorative object to be admired for its craftsmanship. It is made from polished rhodonite, a mineral that can range in colour from pink to deep red. The egg opens horizontally, and is decorated with a rose-cut diamond-set snowflake-hinged clasp. It is decorated with frosty icicles, which appear to be receding, making way for spring. It retains its original velvet- and satin-lined case.

Frog, Siberian nephrite jade, the eyes set with rose-cut diamonds

Fabergé, c.1913

Animal studies

This frog was a gift to Mrs Greville from Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich of Russia (1861-1929), who purchased it in London in December 1913 for £14, 15s (approximately £2,000 in today’s terms).

Leveret, c.1910, rose quartz, the eyes set with rose-cut diamonds in platinum collets

Attributed to Fabergé, c.1910

Elephant calf, agate, the eyes set with rose-cut diamonds in silver collets

Fabergé, c.1900-10

Pug puppy, bloodstone, rose-cut diamonds, gold

Fabergé, c.1900-10

Owl on a perch, jasper, silver, chalcedony

Fabergé, c.1903-08

Henrik Wigström for Fabergé

Gum pot, c.1908, gold, enamel, moonstone cabochon

Henrik Wigström for Fabergé, c.1905

Bookmark, bowenite, gold, enamel, seed pearls, diamonds

Henrik Wigström for Fabergé, c.1905

Cartier and other objets d’art

Owl, Siberian nephrite jade, gold, cabochon rubies

Attributed to Cartier, c.1920-25

Pekingese dog, agate, cabochon rubies

Attributed to Cartier, c.1910-15

Owl, Siberian nephrite jade, silver, rubies, rose quartz

Attributed to Cartier, c.1920-25

Spaniel dog, rock crystal, cabochon rubies


Hare, rock crystal, cabochon rubies, silver


Chimpanzee, petrified wood, diamonds


French bulldog, frosted golden brown quartz, sapphire cabochon, gold


Group of two monkeys, jade

Chinese, late 19th or early 20th century

French bulldog, frosted smoky quartz, cabochon rubies, gold


All photos © National Trust Images/David Brunetti Photography, unless otherwise stated.

Continue exploring the exhibition

Silver and objets de vertu


'My pictures'


Treasured Possessions: Riches of Polesden Lacey


25 Apr 2022