Art, Craft & the Fin-de-Siècle: Britain and Russia Part I: From Firebird to Fabergé: British-Russian Artistic Exchange, 1880-1917

5 December
History of Art Department, University of Cambridge

The British-Russian Year of Culture in 2014 has brought renewed attention to the long history of cultural exchange between Britain and Russia. This full-day conference organised by the Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre (CCRAC) takes Britain’s relationship with the Russian decorative arts as its theme. It aims to complement recent scholarship on British-Russian cultural exchange during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Around 1900, Britain witnessed a surge of interest in the Russian decorative arts, and in particular those of the ‘Russian style’ and ‘neo-national’ movements. The associated revival of national traditions was critical to the immense appeal of Russian art in the West, leading above all to the success of the Ballets Russes and a broader interest in the Russian kustar (peasant) industries. In Russia, leading exponents of the neo-national school including Elena Polenova (1850-1898) and Aleksandr Golovin (1863-1930) responded to contemporary developments in Britain and the rest of Europe, notably the Arts and Crafts Movement and Art Nouveau.

This conference is one of a series of two symposia designed to complement the forthcoming exhibition of the art and craft of Elena Polenova (1850-1898) at Watts Gallery in Compton, Surrey ( which has been jointly organised with the V. D. Polenov State Memorial History, Art and Nature Museum Reserve ( in association with the British-Russian Year of Culture.

The conference programme is now available: Download Conference Programme

Louise Hardiman (University of Cambridge)
Natalia Murray (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Speakers and panellists:
Rebecca Beasley (University of Oxford)
Rosalind Blakesley (University of Cambridge)
Grace Brockington (University of Bristol)
Caroline de Guitaut (The Royal Collection)
Louise Hardiman (University of Cambridge)
Michael Hughes (Lancaster University)
Elena Kashtanova (V. D. Polenov State Memorial History, Art and Nature Museum Reserve)
Nicola Kozicharow (University of Cambridge)
Viktor Kulikov (Yaroslavl University)
Eleonora Paston (State Tretiakov Gallery)
Caroline Maclean (University of Oxford)
Nicholas Tromans (Watts Gallery)