New book! Courtly Gifts and Cultural Diplomacy. Art, Material Culture, And British-Russian Relations, Edited by Louise Hardiman

Ekaterina Heath Discussion

“Courtly Gifts and Cultural Diplomacy” explores the history of British-Russian state relations from the perspective of art and material culture. This richly illustrated book presents manifold practices of courtly gift-giving and vivid case studies of British-Russian artistic diplomacy over the centuries. It traces a visual and material history of cross-cultural dialogue that starts with an early English map of Russia made in the 16th century and ends with gifts of Fabergé art objects and domestic photographs exchanged between the British royal family and the family of Tsar Nicholas II in late Imperial Russia. Twelve expert authors from academia, the arts, and the museum sectors in Britain, Russia, and the United States present new narratives and critical interpretations based on material from previously unexplored archives. Their diverse approaches reveal the importance of artistic diplomacy and the agency of gifts of art and material culture in courtly and state relations.

Louise Hardiman is an independent academic and lecturer specialising in Russian, Ukrainian and Soviet art and the history of British-Russian cultural relations. Her publications and ongoing research focus mainly on the art and design history of late imperial Russia and the involvement of women in cross-cultural artistic exchange. She has also published two illustrated books of Russian folk tales by the nineteenth-century artist Elena Polenova.


Table of Contents


List of Illustrations

Notes on Contributors


1. Introduction: Visual Culture and the History of British-Russian Relations

 Louise Hardiman

Part I Art and Diplomacy

2. Art and Acculturation: Sir Godfrey Kneller’s Portraits of Petr Potemkin (1682) and Peter the Great (1698).

Louise Hardiman

3. Catherine II, the Cathcarts, and Russian Anglophilia

Anthony Cross

 4. Prince Grigorii Potemkin, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and Anglo-Russian Artistic Diplomacy in the Age of Catherine the Great

Elizaveta Renne

Part II The Agency of Gifts

 5. “Give with One Hand and Take with the Other:” British Diplomatic Gifts to Russia, 1795–97   

Ekaterina Heath

6. Courtly Splendour and Cultural Identity: Nineteenth-century Russian Imperial Gifts for the British Royal Family

Caroline de Guitaut

 7. Alfred, Lord Tennyson and an Imperial Russian Gift

Olga Sobolev

8. Fabergé Hardstone in Imperial Gifting from Russia to England

 Cynthia Coleman Sparke

 Part III Travels and Dialogues

9. Gavriil Skorodumov and James Walker: Printmaking and British-Russian Relations in the Late Eighteenth Century

 Zalina Tetermazova

 10. “Smart Travels:” The Encounters of Grand Duke Nicholas with British Art and Artists, 1816–17

Irina Marisina

 11. Tsar Alexander I, Sir Thomas Lawrence, and George Dawe: Masculinity and the Development of the St Petersburg Military Gallery

Allison Leigh

Part IV Dynasties and Domesticities

12. The Wedding of Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Maria Alexandrovna of Russia in 1874 and its Visual Commemoration

Stephen Patterson

13. Images of Nicholas II: (Mis-)interpreting the Last Tsar

Wendy Slater