Russian kovsh

Russian kovsh presented to Rear-Admiral Sir R. F. Phillimore (1864-1940).

A ‘kovsh’ was originally a traditional Russian boat-shaped drinking vessel with a flat handle at one end, which later became a decorative symbol of honour awarded for outstanding service to the Russian state, either a military feat or a successful diplomatic or commercial mission.

This large silver-gilt kovsh has one side terminating in the two-headed Russian imperial eagle, the other in a flat handle chased with scrolls and inscribed '1915-1916', and terminating in a crown. The centre is chased with an Imperial eagle in a matt oval. The rim is corded and the exterior sides are chased with foliage cartouches containing inscriptions in English: 'To Rear Admiral R.F. Phillimore C.B. M.V.O.', on one side, 'From the Imperial Russian Navy', on the other side and a Cyrillic inscription at the front. This Fabergé piece is thought to be one of the last to have come out of Imperial Russia.

Phillimore was British Naval a representative on the Tsar's staff for 18 months 1915-16, leaving a few months before the 1917 Revolution. Called 'the indomitable Phillimore' by Sir Roger Keyes, he travelled to every part of the Russian front, and was on board the Russian flagship at the bombardment of Varna. 'The Times' reported 23 December 1915: 'this officer is understood to have been attached to the staff of the Russian admiral in the Baltic. He was formerly Principal Naval Transport Officer at the Dardanelles, and earned favourable mention in Admiral de Robeck's dispatch for his services during the landing of the Army. Earlier still, as captain of the Inflexible, he had taken part in the destruction of von Spee's squadron off the Falklands and in the naval attack on the Dardanelles forts. His war experience in the present conflict is therefore of a most varied character, and probably unique.'.

Object Details

ID: PLT0168
Collection: Decorative art
Type: Kovsh
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Fabergé, Peter Carl
Date made: 1916
People: Russian Navy, Imperial; Phillimore, Richard Fortescue
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Overall: 220 x 560 x 270 mm

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