Lot 387. A jewelled gold and enamel presentation box, Charles Colins & Söhne, Hanau, circa 1855; 10.2cm., 4 in. wide. Estimate 15,000 — 25,000 GBP. Courtesy Sotheby's 2018.

of cartouche form, the lid applied with the rose diamond-set cypher of Emperor Alexander II of Russia on a translucent blue engine-turned enamel ground with applied scrollwork, a collet-set rose diamond at each corner, the baluster sides and base engraved with scrolls and applied in relief with swags and a leafy border, maker's mark, CK control mark.

Note: Alexander Nikolayevich was born in 1818 in Moscow to the future Emperor Nicholas I and Alexandra Fyodorovna, former Princess of Prussia. At age 36 and married to Maria Alexandrovna, previously Princess Marie of Hesse, for almost 15 years, he became Emperor Alexander II of Russia, after a difficult youth under his dominant father. In 1856, when Russia suffered a massive defeat in the Crimean War, Emperor Alexander II initiated extensive reforms of the Russian armed forces and was also responsible for the expansion of the railway network and the abolition of serfdom in 1861, hoping to direct Russia closer to its modern European competitors such as England and France. A period of suppression of several separatist movements led to a wave of revolutionary terrorism after 1863 and several attacks. In March 1881, Emperor Alexander II fell victim to an assassination plot and was succeeded by his far more conservative son Alexander III.

Sotheby's. From Earth to Fire, London, 01 mai 2018, 02:00 PM