Courtly Gifts and Cultural Diplomacy

Art, Material Culture, and British-Russian Relations

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Louise Hardiman
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“Courtly Gifts and Cultural Diplomacy” explores the history of British-Russian state relations from the perspective of art and material culture. This richly illustrated book presents manifold practices of courtly gift-giving and vivid case studies of British-Russian artistic diplomacy over the centuries. It traces a visual and material history of cross-cultural dialogue that starts with an early English map of Russia made in the 16th century and ends with gifts of Fabergé art objects and domestic photographs exchanged between the British royal family and the family of Tsar Nicholas II in late Imperial Russia. Twelve expert authors from academia, the arts, and the museum sectors in Britain, Russia, and the United States present new narratives and critical interpretations based on material from previously unexplored archives. Their diverse approaches reveal the importance of artistic diplomacy and the agency of gifts of art and material culture in courtly and state relations.

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Louise Hardiman is an independent academic and lecturer specialising in Russian, Ukrainian and Soviet art and the history of British-Russian cultural relations. Her publications and ongoing research focus mainly on the art and design history of late imperial Russia and the involvement of women in cross-cultural artistic exchange. She has also published two illustrated books of Russian folk tales by the nineteenth-century artist Elena Polenova.
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