Russia: Courtly Gifts and Cultural Diplomacy

Nicolas Chevalier, The Marriage of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, 23 January 1874 (1874-75)
Image credit: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018.

Russia: Courtly Gifts and Cultural Diplomacy
The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London
22 June 2019

A collaboration between Royal Collection Trust, Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre and The Burlington Magazine, this one-day international academic conference takes its cue from the exhibition, ‘Russia: Royalty and the Romanovs’, to be held at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London, from 9 November 2018 to 28 April 2019.

The exhibition explores the relationship between Britain and Russia and their royal families through the stories of art and objects in the Royal Collection, charting a history of alliance, dynastic marriage, and war. Over a long historical timeframe beginning with Peter the Great’s visit to London in 1698, the display of portraits, sculpture, photographs, archival documents and miniature masterpieces by Fabergé will illustrate historic events, state ceremony, and family meetings between the rulers of the two nations.

For further information, visit the website of the Royal Collection at:

The conference ‘Russia: Courtly Gifts and Cultural Diplomacy’ will explore themes of courtly gift-giving and cultural diplomacy between Russia and the west, a history that sits within the broader framework of the history of British-Russian state and cultural relations. Scholarly research in these areas has flourished over the past few decades, and continues to generate debate and activity as the discipline of history itself has developed to encompass the study of material culture; sensory history and the history of emotions; domestic history; histories of power, ceremony and ritual; and internationalism and cross-cultural exchange. Increasing access to archives and the availability of new methodologies, not least the advent of the ‘digital’ humanities, have provided further opportunities for cutting-edge research. This conference accordingly embraces innovative methodologies from disciplines including history, art history, literature, area studies, and anthropology to explore ways in which Russia’s international relations have been forged, fermented and fractured by the exchange of material objects in the social, cultural and political spheres.

The Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre is offered ten student bursaries of £30 towards the cost of attending the conference. These awards were awarded by competitive selection to students currently enrolled in a undergraduate or postgraduate study programme at a U.K. based university. Please apply by email with a statement of no more than 200 words as to why you wish to attend, together with your name and affiliation, to Deadline: 14 January 2019.

Applicants are advised to register for the conference through the standard route as soon as possible to ensure a place, for which they will need to pay the full fee.

The bursaries are made available with generous support from the Department of History of Art at the University of Cambridge.


Abstracts and Biographies


Organising Committee

Caroline de Guitaut (Royal Collection Trust), Dr Louise Hardiman (CCRAC), Professor Rosalind P. Blakesley (University of Cambridge and CCRAC), Professor John Milner (The Courtauld Institute of Art and CCRAC) and Michael Hall (Editor, The Burlington Magazine).