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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Jeweler to the Tsar

So who doesn't love Fabrege? Exquisite jeweled objects, fanciful materials, glorious craftsmanship, the marriage of stone and wood and glass and metal.  And then there is all the tragic mystery attached to the Romanovs - it's enough to make you weep.

The VMFA has a remarkably good collection of Fabrege, donated by Lillian Thomas Pratt, a Virginia denizen who's wealthy industrialist husband took her far afield and then back again to restore Chatham Manor, across the Rappahannock from Fredericksburg. On the advice of her friend Armand Hammer, she began collecting Fabrege in the 20's and 30's and in her will she bequeathed a collection of 50 objects to the brand new museum in Richmond.

This is the second big display of Fabrege put on by the museum and it's by far the better of the two. The first exhibit had lots of flashy parties to kick it off, but this one has a meatier collection. I had guessed over 250 pieces but the museum PR says it's 500. It's stunning, too and if you get a chance, go visit it. It'll be here till October 2.

The cafe is quite a nice spot for lunch too with reasonably priced sandwiches and big salads. While the weather is warm you can dine outside. What a great way to spend an August Friday.

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