"British Art Treasures from Russian Imperial Collections in the Hermitage" by Brian Allen

British Art Treasures from Russian Imperial Collections in the Hermitage Brian Allen, Larissa Dukelskaya

Publication date:
30 Oct 1996
Paul Mellon Centre
328 pages: 292 x 254mm
40 b-w + 200 color illus.


More than two hundred years ago, Russian Empress Catherine the Great and some of her courtiers developed a taste for British art and collected some spectacular items including paintings, drawings, sculpture, silver, and Wedgwood ceramics. This sumptuously illustrated book tells the story of the acquisition of these treasures and of the cultural relations between Britain and Russia in the eighteenth century.

Distinguished critic John Russell provides the introduction for this book, and eminent British and Russian scholars offer chapters on such topics as British gardeners and the vogue of the English Garden, the Houghton sale, British architects in Russia, and English porcelain and the Russian court. The book includes color illustrations of 164 items from the Hermitage collections of British art, including such highlights as full-length portraits by Van Dyck painted in England, assorted pieces of the celebrated Green Frog dinner service commissioned from Josiah Wedgwood for the Chesmensky Palace, Charles Kandler's huge Rococo silver "Jerningham" wine cooler, other silver items by Augustine Courtauld and Paul de Lamerie, and some furniture and important architectural drawings by Charles Cameron. The collection also includes sculpture, jewelry, watches, clocks, medals, cameos, and gems.

Brian Allen is director of studies at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in London and adjunct professor of history of art at Yale University.

"The essays form a new subsection of British art and will long be consulted; the bibliography too will be particularly useful to scholars."?Library Journal

"This extraordinary collections of luxury items will both delight all those interested in the decorative arts and serve as the basis for solid scholarship on Russian culture in the eighteenth century."?Choice

"A rich, satisfying book with many memorable images. . . A lavishly illustrated volume."?Byron Ireland, Day By Day