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From Tall Tsar to Wide Empress: England's Image of Russia from Peter I to Catherine II

Secondary Sources

Anderson, Matthew Smith. Britain's Discovery of Russia. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1958.
    - An excellent summary of British encounters with Russia, in both directions. Great for finding periodical sources.
Cross, Anthony. Peter the Great through British Eyes. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Cross, Anthony. Catherine the Great and the British: a Pot-Pourri of Essays. Keyworth: Astra Press, 2001.
Nerhood, Harry. To Russia and Return. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1968.
    - Exhaustive bibliography of English-language travelers accounts, with useful bite-size summaries
Putnam, Peter. Seven Britons in Imperial Russia. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1952.

Primary Sources

Books and pamphlets
Anonymous. A New and Exact Description of Muscovy. London: R. Baldwin, 1698.
- One of several works that hit British presses after Peter's arrival there sparked intense curiosity about the mysterious country and its monarch. Claims to "omit nothing," but it's only 28 pages, which says a lot about Britain's experience of Russia.

Anonymous. Congratulatory Poem to the High and Mighty Czar of Muscovy on his Arrival in England. London: J. Bradford, 1698.
- Extremely positive, addresses Peter as "great monarch" and links Peter I and William III as "you two, the twins of fate" essentially splitting the world between them. Ends with "May Roman Conquests be out done by Thee / And Czar to more than Caesar then extended Be."

Deane, John. A letter from Moscow to the Marquess of Carmarthen relating to the Czar of Muscovy's forwardness in his great navy. London, 1699.

Gyllenborg, Carl. The Northern Crisis, or, Impartial Reflections on the Policies of the Czar. London: J. Morphew, 1716.
    - These "impartial reflections" come from the Swedish ambassador to England and follows Russian expansion into Sweden. A time when Russia is really participating in European state system. Describes "thirst for domination," "voracious Appetites," but also "great and enterprising spirit" of Peter.'

Perry, John. The State of Russia under the Present Czar. London, Benjamin Tooke, 1716.
- Account by a British naval officer who served in the czar's army and helped with development of Peter's fleet

Richardson, William. Anecdotes of the Russian Empire in a series of letters written a few years from St. Petersburg. London: Cadell, 1784.

Sinclair, Sir John. General Observations regarding the Present State of the Russian Empire. London, 1787.
- "all Europe must unite to check the ambition" of Russia. Focus is on momentum of southern expansion

Whitworth, Charles. An account of Russia as it was in 1710. Twickenham: Strawberry Hill, 1758.
    - A surprisingly accurate description of Russia's history from Ivan IV on, with analysis of serfdom, eating habits, etc. Claims that Peter I "farther improved his empire in ten Years, than any other ever was in ten Times that space," and despite his brutish people.

Wraxall, Nathaniel. Cursory Remarks made in a tour through some of the northern parts of Europe, particularly Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Petersburgh. London: Cadell, 1775. p. 202-288.


Anonymous. "To the Printer of the London Chronicle." The London Chronicle. 2-5 April 1791, p. 324.
- Describes Russia as a "vast whirlpool"

Roberts, J. The Plain Dealer. 7 December 1724, p. 1-2.
- Likens Russia to "the GOTHS...at our gates" and worries that Peter I, through his "genius" and innovation, will overtake Britain like the Goths overtook Rome. Combines admiration of Peter and fear of Russia.
Roberts, J. The Plain Dealer. 7 December 1724, p. 1-2.
- Peter is "A Prince! whose Actions will draw after him a Blaze of Glory and Astonishment, through the latest Depth of Time! and warm the Hearts of Posterity with the same generous Reverence, for the Name of this immortal Emperor..." etc. Also addresses the sad fate of Peter's son, Alexei, where Roberts plays the role of propaganda organ for Peter.

"A Concise and Interesting View of the Rise and Rapid Progress of the Russian Empire to its present most formidable and alarming state of power." World. 4 April 1791, p. 3.
"Chapter I. A Summary Review of the History of Russia, from its earliest authenticated Era, to the Close of the Sixteenth Century." World. 7 April 1791, p.3.
"Chapter II. A Summary Review of the History of Russia, from the commencement of the Seventeeth Century to the Accession of PETER the GREAT." World. 12 April 1791, p. 2.
"Chapter III. The Reign of PETER the Great. Political State of Russia at the conclusion of it." World. 22 April 1791.
"Chapter IV. A Summary Review of the History of Russia, from the death of PETER the GREAT to the Accession of PETER the THIRD." World. 27 April 1791, p. 3.
"Chapter V. Reign and deposition of PETER the Third. Accession of CATHARINE II. War with the Turks. Her obligations to Britain." World. 29 April 1791, p. 3.
"Chapter VI. Conduct of Russia towards Britain in the last War. Policy of Britain to counteract her Views." World. 3 May 1791, p. 3.
"Chapter VII. The present state of Russia. Its National Character, Resources, and Power." World. 6 May 1791, p. 3.
"Chapter VIII. Causes of the present War between RUSSIA and the PORTE [Ottoman Empire] Its conduct, and probable consequences." World. 6 May 1791, p. 3.
"Chapter IX. The relative situation of the European Powers with respect to Russia. The cuases of the present armament of Britain, and its probable effects."
- A ten-part series in the newspaper World detailing the history of Russia up to the point of tensions between Britain and Russia over Russia's war with the Ottoman Empire in Spring 1791.

(click images for larger versions)

Political satire: Catherine the Great leans foward to seize the Baltic, while a cannon in her backside labelled Potemkin fires the Grand Turk, and she pisses the Black Sea into a chamber of the Ottoman Empire.  14 April 1791 Etching

Dent, William. "The Northern Bugga Bo." London: James Aitken, 1791. Reproduced in British Museum Collections Database, registration number 1990,0623.19.

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat).  12 April 1791 Hand-coloured etching
Newton, Richard. "An Imperial stride!" London: William Holland, 1791. Reproduced in British Museum Collections Database, registration number 1868,0808.6035.

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat).  5 August 1794 Hand-coloured etching
"A Dance round the Poles." London, 1794. Reproduced in British Museum Collections Database, registration number 1878,0511.1374.

Satire with the devil bringing to Catherine of Russia the cities of Canstantinople and Warsaw. 4 November 1791 Hand-coloured facsimile of an etching

Newton, Richard. "Queen Catherine's Dream." London: William Holland, 1791. Reproduced in British Museum Collections Database, registration number 1948,0214.370.

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat)  Hand-coloured etching

"The Russian bear and her invincible rider encountering the British legion." London: William Holland, 1791. Reproduced in British Museum Collections Database, registration number 1868,0808.6038.

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 1791 Hand-coloured etching

Gillray, James. "The balance of power." London: Hannah Humphrey, 1791. Reproduced in British Museum Collections Database, registration number 1868,0808.6037.

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat).  1795 Hand-coloured etching

Cruikshank, Isaac. "Royal recreation." London: S. W. Fores, 1795. Reproduced in British Museum Collections Database, registration number 1868,0808.6401.

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat)  Hand-coloured etching

Cawse, John. "The great swallow all!!! Disgorging or French bullie too hot for the bears stomach." London: S. W. Fores, 1799.
- I don't know how I would incorporate this into my paper, but what a sweet image