Catherine II’s Anglophilia and Lord Cathcart’s “Extraordinary Embassy” in St. Petersburg, 1768–1772

Aнглoфилия Eкaтepины ii и «иcключитeльнoe пocoльcтвo» лopдa Кaткapтa в Caнкт-Пeтepбуpг в 1768–1772 гг

In: Journal of Modern Russian History and Historiography
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  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow
  • | 2 Haциoнaльный иccлeдoвaтeльcкий унивepcитeт «Bыcшaя шкoлa экoнoмики», Mocквa
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Looking at eighteenth-century relations between Russia and the West through the prism of diplomatic culture and rituals, this article concentrates on a “happy period” in Anglo-Russian contacts in 1768–1772, when Sir Charles Cathcart was dispatched to St. Petersburg to negotiate a treaty between the British and Russian Empires. The article argues that close relations between Great Britain and Russia at that time influenced ceremonial practices, individual contacts, and the transfer of the British culture to the Russian court. Study of the Cathcart’s archive points to the peculiar character of his mission – to the leading role that he, as British ambassador, played among diplomats in Russia; to the role of his wife, who became the first ambassadrice officially presented to Catherine ii; to their residence, which they transformed into an exemplar of “British taste” in St. Petersburg. The Cathcart case study opens up new perspectives on the diplomats in the Age of the Enlightenment.

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