A People Passing Rude: British Responses to Russian Culture


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Lovell jr. Princeton, , p. Bixby, of St. Louis Society of the Dofobs, Chicago, In fact, Byron shows little overt interest in any of these issues. His commentary on Russian ambitions was more comical: But oh thou grand legitimate Alexander! Don Juan, VI, sts. Juan is throughout the passive victim of predatory women. William Tooke was chaplain to the British merchants in St Petersburg from to Petersburg English translation ; this is not in his library sale catalogue, but again, that does not prove that he did not have a copy. I shall mention other books en passant. Here is one of his milder passages: Next to drunkenness, the most prominent and common vice of the Russians is theft.

I doubt whether any people on earth be more inclined naturally to appropriate to themselves the property of others—from the first minister to the general officer, from the lackey to the soldier, all are thieves, plunderers and cheats. In Russia theft does not inspire that degrading contempt which stigmatizes a man with infamy, even among the lowest of the populace.

This shameful vice, pervading all classes, scarcely incurs blame. It sometimes happens that your pocket is picked in apartments at Court, to which none but persons of quality and superior officers are admitted, as if you were in a fair. A stranger, who lodges with a Russian, even a kniaz, will find, to his cost, that he must leave nothing on his dressing-table or his writing-desk; it is even a Russian maxim, that what is not locked up belongs to anyone who will take it.

The same quality has been falsely ascribed to the Spartans; but an Englishman, who has published a book on the resemblances between the Russians and the Greeks, after having proved that they eat, sing and sleep like them, has forgotten to add that in stealing they are still more expert. Byron, Don Juan, IX, st. Petersburg, II London, , pp. Tooke quotes a source from the s, and has: She [Catherine] is of that stature which is necessarily requisite to perfect elegance of form in a lady. She has fine large blue eyes; her eyebrows and hair are of a brownish colour; her mouth is well-proportioned, the chin round, the nose rather long; the forehead regular and open, her hands and arms round and white, her complection not entirely clear, and her shape rather plump than meagre; her neck and bosom high, and she bears her head with peculiar grace and dignity.

She lays on, as is universally the custom with the fair sex in Russia, a pretty strong rouge Her gait is majestic: in the whole of her form and manner there is something so dignified and noble, that if she were to be seen, without ornament or any outward marks of distinction, among a great number of ladies of rank, she would be immediately esteemed the chief. There is withal in the features of her face and in her looks an uncommon degree of authority and command.

She is courteous, gentle, beneficent; outwardly devout. Her voice too was hoarse and broken, and her speech inarticulate. The lower part of her face was rather large and coarse; her grey eyes, though clear and penetrating, evinced something of hypocrisy, and a certain wrinkle at the base of the nose indicated a character somewhat sinister. Let all say Amen. The joke makes Russia into an Asiatic power. Byron, less nauseated and much wittier than Casti, creates far subtler effects.

Tommaso gets a good report, so Cattuna installs him as favourite. Of all the episodes in Don Juan, that at the Russian court is the briefest, and, in terms of action, the barest of incident. Perhaps Tooke, Masson and Casti did not provide him with sufficient compensation for the personal experiences on which he drew for the rest of the poem, or perhaps the Russophobic contempt of Masson and Casti had infected his view of Russia, and made him want not to investigate or portray the country in too much detail.

But there is more to the Russian cantos than just Catherine the Great. Rossetti London, , pp. This was Potemkin—a great thing in days When Homicide and Harlotry made great; If Stars and Titles could entail praise, His Glory might half-equal his Estate; This fellow, being six foot high, could raise A kind of phantasy proportionate In the then Sovereign of the Russian people, Who measured men, as you would do a Steeple.

He brings him into the poem suddenly, and drops him in the same way. He disdained their advice, and would follow no regimen. He carried even his intemperance to an uncommon height[;] his ordinary breakfast was the greater part of a smoke-dried goose from Hamburgh, slices of hung-beef or ham, drinking with it a prodigious quantity of wine and Dantzic-liqueurs, and afterwards dining with equal voracity. He never controlled his appetites in any kind of gratification. He frequently had his favourite sterlet-soup, [a sterlet is a small sturgeon] at seasons when that fish is so enormously dear, that this soup alone, which might be considered only as the overture to his dinner, stood him in three hundred rubles With this sort of diet it is no wonder that he perceived his distemper to be daily gaining ground[;] he thought, however, to get well by moving from Yassy.

Accordingly he resolved to set out for Nicolayef, a town which he had built at the confluence of the Ingul with the Bogue. Scarcely had he gone three leagues of his journey when he found himself much worse. He alighted from his carriage in the midst of the highway, threw himself on the grass, and died under a tree, in the arms of the Countess Branicka, his favourite niece. Suvorov, a legend in Russia in his own lifetime, and a great Stalinist hero was one of the most successful generals ever—he never suffered a defeat.

He was hugely popular with his troops, who happily died under his command.

This success, however, is something Byron at first finds mockable: For on the sixteenth, at full gallop, drew In sight two horsemen, who were deemed Cossaques For some time, till they came in nearer view; They had but little baggage at their backs, For there were but three shirts between the two; But on they rode, upon two Ukraine Hacks, Till, in approaching, were at length descried In this plain pair, Suwarrow and his Guide.

The following description is typical of the writings about him which Byron could have read: A stranger, who has heard the name of Suvarof, wishes, on his arrival [in St. Petersburg], to see this hero. I am Suvarof! Suvarof would be considered as the most ridiculous buffoon, if he had not shown himself the most barbarous warrior. He is a monster, with the body of an ape and the soul of a bull-dog. Attila, his countryman, and from whom he is perhaps descended, had neither his good fortune nor his ferocity. His gross and ridiculous manners have inspired his soldiers with the blindest confidence, which serves him instead of military talents, and has been the real cause of all his successes.

Catherine told him one day to behave himself more decently. A kind of couplet; for he was a poet. They are full of oaths and obscene songs. What an antithetical mind! When he went to Greece in , with a view to forming a battalion and fighting the Turks, Byron may have intended to make Suvorov a role-model: but he died of despair and medical bloodletting before he saw any action. For further examples of his doggerel, see A. Lopatin Moscow, , pp. The reviewer, who, as will be shown, was W. During the reigns of Catherine and Paul there were significant contributions made by a series of knowledgeable and informed writers, notably Rev.

William Coxe, Rev. William Tooke and Dr Matthew Guthrie, to provide sound information about Russian cultural, literary and scientific achievements. Bakhtin It is only his own compositions or translations that seem to bear his full name. He was unbelievably prolific and his publications were not only contributions to journals but also included books he edited or for which he wrote introductions. His range was very wide and Russian literature was to a degree an avocation. He has no entry in the Dictionary of National Biography, although he fully deserves one, and it is in dictionaries of architects and reference works on architecture that his name appears.

Thus he was known to some Pushkin scholars, such as the aforementioned Struve and Rak, but not, for instance, to M. Leeds was born in Norwich in , but nothing is known of his early years or education and he first surfaces in , when he showed a design for a monument to Admiral Nelson at the Norwich Society of Artists. He subsequently exhibited architectural drawings at the Royal Academy and Society of British Artists but he seems not to have received any formal training as a draughtsman or architect.

He worked for the London booksellers Baldwin and Cradock, but small inheritances following the deaths of his brother and sister, augmented by fees for his journalism and editing, allowed him to pursue an independent career. Precisely when and why he began his study of Russian is unknown, although it would seem to have been in the s, possibly inspired by the example of Bowring to enter into an unknown area of research and probably teaching himself.

He certainly never visited Russia and may never have spoken the language or even met a Russian. Leeds, however, had a deep commitment to literature, was widely read, dabbled in verse, and apparently left a number of unpublished dramatic works. Leeds, Esq. There were runs of a few Russian periodicals and dictionaries but the only individual literary works were a two-volume edition of Kheraskov and a three-volume collection of Karolina Pavlova He then revealed that he had been the author of the anonymous review in the Foreign Review and Continental Miscellany in and expressed the hope that the editor J.

Leeds had continued to contribute to the Foreign Review and Continental Miscellany during the remaining months of its existence, most notably in volume IV, when he produced a substantial review of the only recently published tale in verse, Div i Peri St Petersburg, by the young minor poet and acquaintance of Pushkin, A. Podolinskii She compiled a sixty-six page typewritten bibliography which is held with her voluminous research materials, mainly on A.

There are three other letters from Leeds to Murray, dated and 2 , but they are concerned solely with architectural matters. Other contributors to this almanac included Coleridge, James Hogg, Robert Southey, and many other luminaries. Ivan Vejeeghen, or, Life in Russia, 2 vols. London and Edinburgh, , trans. Whether he was writing about prose or poetry Leeds was ever aware of the presence of Pushkin. It was as if he felt obliged to introduce some mention or discussion of a writer so renowned in his homeland but about whom he always had some niggling reservations.

It became a perpetual criticism that Pushkin frittered his time on minor pieces in verse and prose when he should have concentrated on the epic and the sustained narrative. His penultimate contribution to the Foreign Quarterly Review came 4 years later in , and was an interesting table of 18th- and 19th-century Russian literature by date of death of authors from Kantemir to Kachenovskii , followed by an alphabetical listing of living authors FQR, XXX, pp.

By authors, he understood not only poets, dramatists and prose writers but also practitioners in the other arts, and therefore there are noted architects such as Starov and Bazhenov, painters such as Losenko and Alekseev, sculptors such as Kozlovskii and Martos, and musicians such as Berezovskii and Bortnianskii. The article in the Westminster Review commands interest for any number of reasons. Concurrent with these journalistic activities at the end of the s Leeds had been contributing entries to the Penny Cyclopaedia, produced by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge over the years It was a project close to his heart and he took the opportunity to insert up-to- date biographies, based on the latest Russian dictionaries and encyclopedias, of some twelve writers from Kantemir to Pushkin and of the architect Voronikhin, as well as his final long essay on Russian literature that named many more.

Indeed, he is. Leeds was a dedicated chronicler of contemporary Russian literature, providing information about publications and authors that is remarkably comprehensive. Despite the difficulties in obtaining books, he was very much up-to-date and increasingly relied on direct information from Russian sources rather than via German or French reviews. Over the years there is a distinct maturing and growing self-confidence in his writing and judgments about Russian literature, accompanied by his sense that he was witnessing its coming of age and the emergence of a new generation of authors.

He undoubtedly had his blind spots, his strange prejudices, and likes and dislikes that frequently run counter to modern tastes and judgments. He perhaps suffered by championing such as Bulgarin and not being fulsome enough in his praise of Pushkin and nonplussed by Gogol. Nevertheless, it is to be regretted that what he achieved did not penetrate more deeply into the consciousness of the British reading public, but his anonymity, his contributions to so many different journals and the absence of good translations other than his own!

In a letter to John Murray in he had suggested that a useful volume could be made out of his scattered and various articles on architecture, but nothing of this nature ever appeared. Russian Icons Through British Eyes, c. In this tale Jameson and his wife develop a sympathetic interest in ancient icon-painting.

Atkinson was an art critic who inter alia wrote two books on English painters. His attitude to the religious art in general, and icons in particular, which he encountered in Russia oscillated between the unsympathetic and the downright hostile. This is a sample: Here in the cathedrals of the Kremlin […] I observed, what I had long noted in Munich, that the modern art, which aims to be true in its drawing and grammatical in its construction, has much less spell over the multitude than the so-called miraculous pictures, though coarse and common as sign- boards.

One of such works, the Holy Virgin of Vladimir, said, of course, to have been painted by St. Luke, and now absolutely black, and with features obliterated, receives, as one of the most ancient images in Russia, countless kisses and genuflexions. Here is an instance where Mr. Also to Wendy Salmond who kindly read a draft and provided some valuable corrections.

A Lantz Knoxville, TN, , pp. Kremlin icon, after cleaning and removal Museums. Tretyakov Gallery. Here we have utterly divergent assessments of British attitudes to Russian icons in Victorian times expressed simultaneously by a Russian novelist and an English critic. Which of them most accurately reflects British perceptions of these objects at the time? Together they mark a seminal moment in British experience of icon-painting. Until the end of the period under consideration, to all intents and purposes Russian icons could only be experienced in Russia.

Into the last category falls Captain C. Colville Frankland RN, who visited Russia in Money badly spent, thought I. There are so many holy pictures of Saints, Martyrs, etc. Whilst acknowledging the splendour of the iconostasis in the Dormition Cathedral in the Kremlin, his description of the Mother of God of Vladimir icon was followed by this dismissive remark: The number of these miraculous pictures in Russia is quite inconceivable, and the readiest faith is bestowed on them although the priests, like their heathen brethren of old, themselves prepare the fraud, to which it is impossible that they can be dupes […].

I can imagine fanaticism bowing before the sublime conception of a Thorwaldsen, or worshipping the representations of a Murillo or a Raphael, but I cannot conceive the genuineness of even mistaken devotion when its objects are either a caricature or a burlesque […]. John Glen King, who served as Chaplain to the British Factory in St Petersburg, in his The Rites and Ceremonies of the Greek Church in Russia: It might be expected that valuable paintings should also make a part of the riches of a church, in which religious pictures are not only an indispensable ornament, but are necessary in its worship […] but though the number of these pictures is so great, and though religion was the cause which called forth such excellency and perfection in painting and sculpture in popish countries […] yet the same cause has not been so lucky as to produce one good painter or one capital picture in Russia: on the contrary these are the most wretched dawbings that can be conceived, some of them notwithstanding are said to be the work of angels.

Even in the case of Beavington Atkinson, who was writing from the point of view of an art critic, his strictures were as much religious as aesthetic. Such attitudes were not confined to Russia. As in the Enlightenment, the antipathy towards the visual manifestations of Russian religious practices and beliefs applied to Eastern Christianity as a whole.

The discourse was that of a superior faith which deemed the culture of Orthodoxy in its various manifestations to be ignorant and idolatrous and hence belonging to the world of the Other. The Rev. In John Mason Neale, one of the founders of the Cambridge Camden Society and a High Churchman, published A History of the Holy Eastern Church; although only a brief section is devoted to a description of an iconostasis, the tone throughout is anything but hostile.

Like Neale, his work spanned the Orthodox world, but he had observed the Russian church at first-hand during a stay in Moscow. Notwithstanding this exercise in Otherness, Stanley invokes neither superstition nor idolatry in his account. Curzon understood the devotional rather than the purely aesthetic appeal of Greek Orthodox images: They are all painted in the stiff conventional manner which tradition has handed down from remote antiquity. Already, however, by the middle of the 19th century the taste for foreign travel had given rise to the expansion of the guidebook genre aimed at a wider public.

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The most enduring and prominent of these was the series of red handbooks produced by the publishing house of John Murray whose imprint included Visits to Monasteries in the Levant —the authors of which were almost entirely drawn from outside the ranks of the clergy. In the first edition of the Handbook for Northern Europe appeared, under the editorship of Captain W.

The Russian section was largely confined to St Petersburg, Moscow and their environs, but as communications improved with the construction of railways, in subsequent editions more places became accessible and were included although the focus remained on the two main cities. As with the entire series, the Handbook for Northern Europe has a factual description of the principal historical, architectural and artistic attractions. Chapter 2. Although they rarely attract scholarly attention, their significance in disseminating information on a little-known country in an easily digestible form should not be overlooked; for long they were a sine qua non for British travellers.

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Notwithstanding the Handbooks, there is little evidence that Russian icons, any more than Byzantine or post-Byzantine ones, made any impact on Victorian Britain. For these artefacts see Neizvestnaia Rossiia. K letiiu Vygovskoi staroobriadtsesskoi pustyni State Historical Museum exhibition catalogue, Moscow, , pp. Although fifty years previously the Rev. The other late 19th-century British publication which covered the pre- Petrine period was also principally concerned with metalwork, but not cast icons.

There is a detailed account of the interiors of the Dormition and St Michael cathedrals in the Moscow Kremlin; the emphasis is less on the icons as paintings but on their gold and silver covers, which Maskell and until quite recently, many others, considered to be a comparatively recent development. A highly pertinent factor is that only from the middle of the century, and as a by-product of the Slavophile movemement, was there a burgeoning of interest within Russia itself in the preservation and study of ancient church art in general and icons Byzantine as well as Russian in particular.

A key moment was the founding in of the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg, which in the following decades amassed large and important holdings of icons, a process which accelerated after Outside St Petersburg and Moscow local archaeological societies were formed and regional museums established. Either the painted surfaces were largely hidden by the oklads, rizas and other embellishments or, as Captain Frankland and Beavington Atkinson noted, they had become opaque as their linseed oil varnish darkened, or were concealed beneath later layers of painting. From the middle of the 19th century new methods evolved for cleaning and removing repainted layers to reveal the original.

The October Revolution in the following year was to prove a landmark in the history of Russian icon-painting. Both the old regime and the Orthodox Church were accused by the new Soviet government of neglecting and misusing its artistic treasures and from the outset church buildings, together with their valuable and historic contents, were subject to nationalisation. A decree was issued on the Recording and Protection of Ancient Church Monuments and the Commission for the Preservation and Identification of Monuments of Ancient Russian Painting Narkompros was established; similar provincial and district commissions followed.

The policy was not merely to remove accretions of dirt, but also successive layers of painting in order to expose the original. The result was the revelation of numerous hitherto unknown masterpieces, above all perhaps the famous Trinity icon by Andrei Rublev and the Mother of God of Vladimir, the latter shown to be Byzantine in origin and of the 12th century. Subsequently the exhibition travelled to the United States. Almost icons were shown, together with a selection of metal oklads and other elements which had been removed as part of the cleaning process for the painted surfaces; there was also a section devoted to the techniques used by the restorers.

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The exhibits ranged in date from the 12th to the early 19th centuries and included major artefacts drawn from the Central Restoration Workshops and museums in Moscow, St Petersburg and provincial centres. Masterpieces such as the Rublev Trinity or the Mother of God of Vladimir, which it was not feasible to lend, were represented by high-quality copies painted by the foremost members of the Restoration Workshops. In his varied career Conway was a mountaineer and explorer, politician and museum curator, as well as the founder of the photographic archive at the Courtauld Institute of Art which bears his name.

He was not primarily an academic, although he held the Slade Professorship of Fine Art at Cambridge between and and published a number of books on art. One of these, entitled Art Treasures in Soviet Russia, appeared in and included a section on icons which drew attention to the achievements of the Central State Restoration Workshops. Conway was chairman of the committee for the Victoria and Albert Museum icons exhibition and wrote the Introduction to the catalogue; presumably he played a significant part in securing the exhibition for Britain.

A genuinely academic polymath whose best-known work is his monumental Scythians and Greeks , he played a crucial role in fostering interest in Russian , pp. For the reception of the exhibition in the United States, see Wendy R. Gatrall and Douglas Greenfield eds. The Russian Icon and Modernity Pennsylvania, , pp. For Anisimov, see Irina L. They were quickly joined by a third major publication, in which both Minns and Conway were again involved. Within a year of, and inspired by, the Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition there appeared Masterpieces of Russian Painting.

The text too is far more substantial. As with the catalogue this was a Russo-English collaboration. In terms of profile the most significant contributor was the foremost British art critic of the day, Roger Fry. The Russian Ikon Exhibition and Masterpieces of Russian Painting were a celebration of the achievements of Russian scholars and restorers after the Revolution.

Overlooked, ignored or suppressed were the distinctly less positive features of Soviet policy. As we have seen, the most important monuments and works of art were preserved through appropriation. Subsequently, and as a result of a severe famine in the Volga region, all church valuables were forfeited and, despite the efforts of national and local museums, much was lost. Contemporary Western observers were aware of these events. In his chapter in Masterpieces, Sir Martin Conway alluded to confiscations but accepted at face-value what he was told, namely that the vast majority of icons and other works of art were neither of value nor importance and that in any case many had been returned to their churches.

He also defended the Soviet regime on the grounds that its treatment of ancient Russian art compared favourably with that of its predecessors. Less sympathetic was an article by Klepinin which appeared in the Slavonic and East European Review in The cash- strapped government hoped to use it as a showcase for the sale both of the facsimiles and the original icons to western collectors.

Early in word reached Minns of this plan and he immediately drew attention to it in print. Of this the British figures involved in promoting the exhibition and encouraging interest in Russian icon-painting were blissfully unaware. When all is said and done, while the Russian Ikon Exhibition and the flurry of publications in the late s provided a more scholarly understanding of Russian icons than hitherto, they did not generate a wider interest within the United Kingdom.

During these decades London was the centre of the auction market for Russian icons and it remains the domain of a few specialist dealers. Nonetheless, the Victoria and Albert Museum icon exhibition was the most significant display on the subject in Britain until the s when Gates of Mystery and The Art of Holy Russia, both major loan shows, were held in London. The grandeur of the exhibition was enhanced immediately upon entrance as the visitor was met by an enormous glass fountain designed by Osler of Birmingham. The fountain contained iron bars embedded within the glass for support.

Although the Exhibition was intended as a platform on which countries from around the world could display their achievements, Great Britain was a dominant force and in fact occupied the entire western section of the exhibition. In foreign goods were not as familiar as they are today and the exhibition provided a vicarious way of travelling the globe. In many cases the distances involved were such that no information was available about what was being sent until it actually arrived. Davis, The Great Exhibition Trowbridge, , p. Davis and Fisher note 3 provide the general informational background to this essay and will only be footnoted hereafter when directly quoted.

These exhibits included works from royal collections and works of art. Also included were works that depicted royalty or politicians, which proved extremely popular in a simpler age less used to mass-produced imagery. Most foreign displays were organized by state governments. The foreign sections had an emphasis on luxury, splendour and magnificence and wealth. The Russian and Austrian displays in particular seemed to be produced in order to show to the outside world the power of the imperial state in terms of art and artefacts. The exhibition allowed direct comparison between countries and the way was opened for governments to begin competing with one another.

However, there was some fear as to what this competition might mean. In Britain, many producers had viewed the Exhibition suspiciously, as an event that would allow foreign manufacturers to spy on British production techniques. For a conservative power such as Russia, participation in the Exhibition was an extremely sensitive matter. At the beginning of April , foreign secret police reports began to show that notorious revolutionaries were using the Exhibition as an excuse to travel to London and proselytise among their countrymen. Russia immediately stopped issuing passports and stepped-up its efforts to prevent certain elements of Russian society from travelling to London.

Auerbach and Peter H. Hoffenberg eds. For example, the Ministry of the Imperial Court was asked to contribute examples of decorative art produced at the Imperial factories specializing in porcelain, lapidary and cut stone. However, like many of the agricultural interests involved in the exhibition, these artistic manufacturers worried that their European colleagues might regard their work as inferior.

By early September the Russian Imperial Commission had begun preparations for shipping exhibits to England. Approximately exhibitors were involved, including well-known industrialists such as the Demidov Brothers, whose display of malachite decorative objects dominated the Russian display. Few proposed exhibits were turned down, though displays considered odd were rejected, such as an unusually large ear of rye and the idiosyncratic work of a peasant clock- maker who turned elements of agricultural machinery into clocks.

At the time of the Great Exhibition writers regularly expressed fear and distrust of foreigners. Real or perceived, the differences between foreign people and the British were thought of as of immutable national characteristics. The English were industrious and persevering; Indians were poor and simple; Turks were a handsome race of people, but prone to a fiery temperament.


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Italians were beggars and bandits and not particularly industrious, although their country had a good climate. Germans were thoughtful, romantic and well-educated; the Dutch industrious and tidy. Northern Europeans were held in highest regard, followed by southern Europeans, with Russians, Asians, Africans and American Indians bringing up the rear.

How they were astonished at its wonders, inconvenienced by the crowds, and frightened out of their wits by the Foreigners. In the Crystal Palace the Browns meet a Don Cossack who has bushy hair, is dressed in military garb and carries a sword. In many ways the presence of a Russian display at the Great Exhibition was an attempt to combat Russophobia and the Russian stereotypes commonly held in the Western mind. Alexis de Valon seemed to capture in a few words what many British people felt about Russia and its image problem at the Great Exhibition.

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Since Britain was also the major purchaser of Russian exports, Russia regarded participation in the exhibition as a wise strategy in terms of maintaining a favourable public opinion. The shipment from Odessa and one shipment from St Petersburg had arrived in the autumn of However, a second shipment from St Petersburg was delayed by ice floes in the Baltic Sea and a third shipment had not even set sail by the opening of the exhibition.

The display was finally completed and opened to the public on 7 June The Russian commissioner, Gavril Kamenskii, performed most of the installation with help from the Ministries of State Domains and Finance. He and his colleagues worked day and night to make sure the display was complete. There were four galleries in the Russia section, which neighboured the United States to the east and the exhibits of pre-unification Germany Zollverein to the west. Among the avid visitors to the exhibition was Queen Victoria.

A People Passing Rude British Responses to Russian Culture by Cross & Anthony & Professor

She recorded her impressions of the visit: 11 June. To the Exhibition: with our relatives. We went first to look at the Russian exhibits, which have just arrived and are very fine: doors, chairs, a chimney piece, a piano as well as vases in malachite, specimens of plate and some beautifully tasteful and very lightly set jewelry […] we came home at a quarter to 12 and I felt quite done and exhausted, mentally exhausted. There was almost a complete absence of machine-produced goods.

Art was used to demonstrate wealth and power, and colossal vases and architectural elements in stone such as malachite and jasper helped to make this point along with costly jewellery. Industrial produce, including cast iron, was also of a gigantic scale, as though size were a substitute for complexity.

The power of the state was clearly the watchword for the Russian display. The raw materials section was divided into four sections. First: silk, chintz and yarn; second: hemp, flax hides, leather and felt. Ores and ingots from Russian mines formed the third, and the fourth was dedicated to chemical products. The northern section contained one large room hung with pomegranate-red cloth. Ten-foot tall bronze candelabra stood alongside the columns at the entryway.

At the back of the gallery there was machinery for making sails, as well as three carriages and two sleighs. On the second floor the Russian display continued with furs, mohair, shawls, lace and other miscellaneous items. The Russian sections created an absolute sensation with the public. According to The Times, the beauty of the Russian section was phenomenal. One of the prize objects on display in the Russian section was a magnificent lidded silver beaker made by the firm of Sazikov.

The celebrated silver making company was started by Pavel Sazikov d. In Pavel was succeeded by his son Ignatii , who opened a branch in St Petersburg in The firm became one of the best known in Russia and was one of the first to employ a mechanized process in the production of silver. He had also started to divide his workers by tasks so they could work more efficiently and faster. In Sazikov received the Imperial warrant and a year later established a school for training young students, one of the first of its kind in the country.

The newly rediscovered vocabulary of Russian design galvanized decorative arts in the country by bringing to light ancient decorative patterns that were commented upon in the media. Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date. For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now. Javascript is not enabled in your browser. Enabling JavaScript in your browser will allow you to experience all the features of our site.

Learn how to enable JavaScript on your browser. NOOK Book. The essays in this stimulating collection attest to the scope and variety of Russia's influence on British culture. They move from the early nineteenth century - when Byron sent his hero Don Juan to meet Catherine the Great, and an English critic sought to come to terms with the challenge of Pushkin - to a series of Russian-themed exhibitions at venues including the Crystal Palace and Earls Court.

The collection looks at British encounters with Russian music, the absorption with Dostoevskii and Chekhov, and finishes by shedding light on Britain's engagement with Soviet film. Edited by Anthony Cross, one of the world's foremost authorities on Anglo-Russian relations, 'A People Passing Rude' is essential reading for anyone with an interest in British and Russian cultures and their complex inter-relationship. See All Customer Reviews.

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A People Passing Rude: British Responses to Russian Culture A People Passing Rude: British Responses to Russian Culture
A People Passing Rude: British Responses to Russian Culture A People Passing Rude: British Responses to Russian Culture
A People Passing Rude: British Responses to Russian Culture A People Passing Rude: British Responses to Russian Culture
A People Passing Rude: British Responses to Russian Culture A People Passing Rude: British Responses to Russian Culture
A People Passing Rude: British Responses to Russian Culture A People Passing Rude: British Responses to Russian Culture
A People Passing Rude: British Responses to Russian Culture A People Passing Rude: British Responses to Russian Culture

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