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  • Author or Editor: Louise Hardiman x
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Art, Material Culture, and British-Russian Relations
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“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, Australia, 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.

This article examines several important designs by Elena Dmitrievna Polenova (1850-1898) for art embroideries and textile panels. These are the least studied of Polenova’s works, but offer new insights into the artist’s role as a leader of the neo-national movement in late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century Russian art. Linking extant designs with photographs of exhibition displays and unpublished archival sources, including contemporary accounts by the British art journalist Netta Peacock (1864-1938), this project seeks to initiate the important process of identifying and analysing Polenova’s designs within the context of the movement.

In: Experiment