Past Events

Britannia & Muscovy: English Silver at the Court of the Tsars


  • 18 January 2008
  • 9:45 – 7:30 pm
  • Public Study Room, Paul Mellon Centre
Golden statue of rampant leopard holding crest

leopard-vessel-kremlin-2dca9980-4862-48fa-8a72-7e40b4205ab6_bm0607-b, London, circa 1600-1

Digital image courtesy of Moscow Kremlin Museums

A conference organised jointly by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the Gilbert Collection. This conference discusses the collection of English silver in the Moscow Kremlin Museums, the world’s greatest surviving group of English sixteenth- and seventeenth-century silver. Much of the silver from this period was melted down during the English Civil War, making the pieces at the Kremlin exceedingly rare and historically important.

The silver items—a large water pot with snake-shaped handle and spout, a flat drinking cup, a magnificent flagon shaped like a leopard, and more—exemplify the developing ties between England and Russia. Some pieces were brought to Russia as diplomatic gifts, some were presented by English trading agents, while others were purchased for the Tsar’s Treasury. Setting these silver treasures in fuller context, the catalogue also features precious objects made by Russian craftsmen, a group of English firearms from the Kremlin collection, and portraits, engravings, books, and maps that illuminate the important diplomatic and commercial exchanges that were taking place between the two countries.