Through war, alliance and dynastic marriage the relationships between Britain and Russia and their royal families are explored from Peter the Great's visit to London in 1698 through to Nicholas II via an exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace’s . Portraits, sculpture, photographs, archival documents and miniature masterpieces by Fabergé illustrate historic events and family meetings between the rulers of the two nations.
Many of the rich and varied works of art on display are unique – some commissioned as grand diplomatic gifts, others as intimate personal mementos between the royal family and the Romanovs, and they bring to life the shared patronage of artists and craftsmen from both countries.
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.