Catalogue: Important Russian Art Auction

15 Oct 2020

Artist Index / Full Catalogue


Peter the Great at Deptford in 1698

14. SEYMOUR LUCAS, JOHN (1849–1923)

Peter the Great at Deptford in 1698, signed and dated 1886.

Oil on canvas, 208 by 157.5 cm.
20,000–40,000 GBP

Exhibited: Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1886.

Literature: Exhibition catalogue, The one hundred and eighteenth exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, London, William Clowes and Sons, 1886, No. 653 (p. 26).
R. De Cordova, Mr. Seymour Lucas, R.A., and His Pictures, Cassell's Magazine, June–November 1907, p. 565, illustrated.
A. Fea, J. Seymour Lucas, Royal Academician, London, Virtue & Co., 1908, p. 23, illustrated.

The picture by the English painter John Seymour Lucas Peter the Great at the Deptford portrays one of the most famous episodes in Peter the Great’s sojourn in England during the Grand Embassy of 1698.

The Russian Tsar, who wished to “visit the land of England as a common foreigner to view ships and maritime activities”, spent several weeks in the vast shipyards and docks at Deptford. For that reason, the story of how Peter performed the simplest jobs under the guidance of experienced English artisans, thereby improving his knowledge of shipbuilding, was invariably popular at the Royal Academy of Arts.

However, unlike his predecessors, in particular Daniel Maclise, who had painted a picture on the same subject in 1857, Lucas displays a scrupulously historical and archaeological approach to his figurative composition, and faithfully depicts not only the process whereby a ship of the line was built, but also the historical costumes of the Russian potentate’s entourage.



The present lot as listed in Exhibition catalogue
The present lot as illustrated in the A. Fea publication
The present lot as illustrated in Cassell's Magazine

Peter the Great at Deptford in 1698
Peter the Great at Deptford in 1698
Peter the Great at Deptford in 1698

Notes on symbols:
* Indicates 5% Import Duty Charge applies.
Ω Indicates 20% Import Duty Charge applies.
§ Indicates Artist's Resale Right applies.
† Indicates Standard VAT scheme applies, and the rate of 20% VAT will be charged on both hammer price and premium.