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The exhibition

The earliest links between Great Britain and Russia were formed in the mid-sixteenth century through trade. These links developed into political and military alliances, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars (1803–15). In the nineteenth century, dynastic marriage and family ties dominated relations between the two countries. Works of art of all kinds – from grand diplomatic gifts to intimate, and personal, mementos – have richly documented the relationship. Beginning with the visit of Peter the Great in 1698, the first Russian ruler to set foot on English soil, they mark significant moments of contact between Great Britain and Russia. These works of art are exhibited together for the first time and tell the story of the complex interconnection between two great countries and their rulers over more than three hundred years.

A country little known

Over the past 450 years connections both positive and negative have been shared between Britain and Russia.

Ambassadors and confused relationships

Diplomats were the key to a relationship between countries

Revolution and New Relationships

Edward VII's accession meant the English king was an uncle to both the Emperor and Empress

‘Holy Russia’ in the Royal Collection

It was in the nineteenth century that interaction with the Orthodox church began

Dynastic links

The end of the nineteenth century saw direct intermarriage between the British and Russian royal families

Dynastic Marriage

A number of weddings were attended by members of both families

Russian Photography and Photographs of Russia in the Royal Collection

Holdings range from early experiments, to informal family snapshots

Russian Decorative Art in the Royal Collection

Representative of a wide range of the country's craftsmanship, including lapidary, metalwork, furniture, sculpture,...

Family Gatherings

The English, Russian and Danish ruling families spent considerable amounts of time visiting one another