Attachment II.

Visit this vine

The egg's inscription Visit this vine (ПОСЕТИ ВИНОГРАД СЕЙ) is linked to the network of charitable and educational institutions in Russia founded by Empress Maria Feodorovna, wife of Paul I, in 1796. The "Office of Empress Maria Feodorovna", established in 1854, became the state agency responsible in Russia for charities, as well as educational institutions and orphan shelters. The Office's Educational department included Mariinsky institutions for the Education of Noble Young Ladies, whose official motto was Visit this vine.

Uniform buttons of the officials of the Society for Noble Young Ladies and other Institutions within the structure of the Mariinsky departments that took care of women had the image of growing grape vines under sunshine and the motto arching overhead – Visit this vine.

The Office of Empress Maria Feodorovna worked in close collaboration with the Office of Charitable Institutions of the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, a similar philanthropic organization, headed by the wife of Nicholas II. It engaged in raising funds for the needy, shelters and almshouses. Official uniforms of the department were the same as in the Mariinsky Office.




Official employee uniform button from the Office of Empress Maria Feodorovna.






The image of the growing vines became associated with women's institutions from the time of Catherine the Great. The first medals struck for this occasion were on August 30th, 1776 for the inaugural graduates from the Smolny Institute. The reverse of the medal shows eight growing vine stalks with ripening grapes under a sunburst. The motto above reads: ТАКО СОЗРЕВАЮТЪ (Thus become mature).




Award medal of Smolny Monastery[19] for Woman, ND, ТАКО СОЗРЕВАЮТ (Thus Become Matured,) silver, 1770s. Original by J.C. Jaeger, copy by T. Ivanov
M.E.Diakov. Medals of the Russian Empire, part 2: 1725-1796, Moscow, 2005, 130.1-2

Obverse: ЕКАТЕРИНА II (Catherine II)
Laureate bust of Catherine II right, chain of order on her chest, signed IAEGER.F. (Made by Jaeger) below.

Reverse: ТАКО СОЗРЂВАЮТ (Thus become matured)

Eight grape vines with bunches of grapes in a sunburst. Signed IAEGER.F. (Made by Jaeger) above exergue to right. In exergue ЗА ОТЛИЧНОСТЬ (For Merit)



Future medals only varied with changing rulers on the obverse. They were given from the Office to the most accomplished ladies upon graduation. The growing vines appear on multiple medals of gold, silver and bronze issued from the reign of Catherine the Great through the reign of Alexander III[20]. The inscription Thus become mature (ТАКО СОЗРЕВАЮТЪ) above the vines which is seen on the medals struck at the time of Catherine the Great were substituted by the inscription Visit this vine (ПОСЕТИ ВИНОГРАДЪ СЕЙ) by the Office of the Empress Maria.


Award medal for Women's Institutes, ND, gold, 1899. Engraver A. Griliches
M.E.Diakov. Medals of the Russian Empire, part 6, Moscow, 2006, 907.3

Obverse: Б.М. АЛЕКСАНДРЪ III ИМПЕРАТОРЪ И САМОДЕРЖ. ВСЕРОСС. (By the Grace of God Alexander III Emperor and Autocrat of All Russia)
Portrait of Alexander III right, signed А.Г. (A. Griliches) on truncation of portrait.

Reverse: ПОСЕТИ ВИНОГРАДЪ СЕЙ (Visit This Vine)
Eight grape vines with bunches of grapes under sunshine. In exergue ЗА ОТЛИЧИЕ (For Merit).