All posts for the month November, 2010

Russians in London: Alexander Herzen, with a note on Nikolai Ogarev

When researching the history of Russians in London, Alexander Herzen presents a considerable problem. He is without doubt the most significant of all the writers and activists who visited London in the nineteenth century, not only because he settled in the capital for some years (1852-64), but also because many of his compatriots — Turgenev, […]

Russians in London: Peter the Great

For such a famous visit, Peter the Great’s stay in London in 1698 seems to be surrounded by confusion and apocryphal tales (this article from the Torygraph retails its fair share of them), from the misplaced plaque that once adorned 15 Buckingham Street, several streets away from where he actually stayed on his arrival, to […]

Russians in London: Introduction

Over the next few weeks, I will be publishing a series of posts entitled ‘Russians in London’. The project came to mind when I was researching Dostoevsky and the Crystal Palace earlier this year. I started thinking about his description of Whitechapel and the Haymarket in Winter Notes on Summer Impressions, and imagined him haunting […]

Four short links: Russian icons

Continuing the theme of traditional Russian culture, icons, even though they are part of other cultures too,¬†are among the most recognizably Russian art works (although they’re not works of art at all…). They’re also possibly the most mysterious. For me the mystery lies in the idea that they access the spiritual world whilst being entirely […]

Four short links: Russian folk art

Like many people who’ve spent time in Russia, I’ve picked up various bits of decorative art over the years. I’ve always liked the contrast between the really beautiful side of Russian folk art, such as Palekh boxes (the picture on this one is from Ruslan and Liudmila): and its amusing and slightly vulgar side – […]

Forest palaces

I recently discovered a great website by a Russian photographer, Andrei Kuzman, or Qzmn. He specializes in travel photography, the Russian wilderness, and its architecture. It’s really worth exploring the site, whether you’ve ever been to Russia and long for the birch forests (I’m a city girl but the Russian countryside definitely speaks to me), […]