Hidden Histories: Fabergé Silversmith Julius Rappoport

This next installment of “Hidden Histories” examines the celebrated Fabergé silversmith Julius Rappoport (1851-1917).

He was born Born Isaac Ambramovich Rappoport in the Datnovskii Jewish community in Kovno, Lithuania. In 1880 he began apprenticing in Berlin under the silversmith Scheff, and by 1884 he became a master and returned to St. Petersburg where he became Fabergé’s head silversmith. His workshop contributed to a range of objects, from animal sculptures to large dinner services. In the early 1890s he converted to Lutheranism and changed his name to Julius. Following his retirement in the early 1900s he left the workshop and its equipment to his workmen which became the First St. Petersburg Silver Artel.

Beyond these few facts we know little, but Rappoport’s material legacy compensates for his biographical obscurity. In fact, Rappoport’s silver is so revered that connoisseurs of Fabergé’s oeuvre often comment that his silver production was among the finest pieces produced by the Fabergé workshop. Below are just a few examples:

Fabergé Silver Candelabra

Pair of Rococo bowenite and silver two-light candelabra.

Rappoport silver animals

Three silver monkey table lighters: Seated monkey, crouching gorilla, and seated baboon.

Fabergé Silver Elephant Stamp Moistener

Silver stamp moistener in the form of an elephant standing on its head and forelegs, the tail serving as the moistener.

Rappoport elephant

Silver-mounted sandstone elephant-form match holder, with garnet eyes.

Rappoport silver and bowenite lamp

Silver and bowenite table lamp.