William Allan


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Author: William Allan
Painting, Oil on canvas, 43x63 cm
Origin: Britain, 1814

The Scotsman William Allan spent nine years in Russia, where he sought to capture new and interesting themes. He lived for a time in St Petersburg and travelled around the Ukraine, the Crimea, the Caucasus and the Caspian steppes. Allan returned to his native Edinburgh in 1814 with a large collection of everyday objects, clothing and weapons, which he used in creating paintings with scenes from the life of peoples who were little known outside the Russian Empire.

Bashkirs is remarkable for the ethnographical precision with which the characters are depicted, a precision which drew the attention of Grand Duke Nikolai Pavlovich , who was in Edinburgh in 1816 and visited Allan's studio. He purchased three paintings from the artist for the Anichkov Palace, his residence in St Petersburg. The original title of this work was Bashkirs Conducting Convicts to Siberia, which would seem to be a typical reflection of the kind of scenes Allan would have been witness to during his travels.

Style: Romanticism
Source of entry: Anichkov Palace, Petrograd, 1918

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