Books about Russian lacquer, by Joanna Tulloch
1. General books in English
The best-known general guide for collectors is:
*Gilchrist, Cherry, Russian Lacquer Miniatures: A Collector's Guide (Bristol: Firebird Publications, 1999). Paperback. £5 plus £3 p&p.
This is an excellent small introduction and covers the techniques of production, the different schools with their history, styles, and strengths, buying considerations, building a collection, and a select bibliography.
Cherry has written many other books, including The Soul of Russia: Magical Traditions in an Enchanted Landscape (Floris Books, 2008; published in the US in 2009 as Russian Magic), which explores in some detail the way in which the folk traditions, soul, and landscape underpinning lacquer art are manifest throughout Russian life and culture. The UK edition can be obtained direct from Cherry (contact email@example.com).
The most comprehensive collection of Russian fairy tales in English illustrated with examples of Russian lacquer is:
Maxym, Lucy, Russian Lacquer, Legends & Fairy Tales (New York: Siamese Imports Co. Inc., 1981 & 1986). 2 vols., hardback.
This also contains information on the production, centres, legends, and artists and can usually be found online.
Less widely available is:
The Lucy Maxym collection of Russian lacquer (New York: Siamese Imports Co. Inc., 1989). Paperback.
Our own friends the Fishchuks produced a booklet of Russian fairy tales illustrated with lacquer miniatures by top artists:
- *Fishchuk, Ludmilla & Vladimir, Russian Folklore through the Eyes of Lacquer Box Artists (Moscow: ARSA-F, 2003). £5 plus £2 p&p.
The other main general English introduction written by a Westerner is:
Armstrong, David, Russian Lacquer Boxes: With Index of Subjects & Cyrillic Key (Moscow: Forkis Publishers, 1992). Hardback.
This is usually available online. It contains some information on the icon-painting tradition behind lacquer miniature, historical detail of the different schools including Lipetsk and Agidel, and very useful indexes including fairy-tale characters and codes painted on boxes.
Several general introductions have been produced by Russian experts in English translation, for the most part containing superb illustrations and relatively little text:
Guliayev, Vladimir, Russian Lacquered Miniatures (Leningrad: Aurora, 1989, and San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1993). Has more text than most in this list.
- Nekrasova, Maria, Russian Lacquer Miniatures (Moscow, Soglasiye, 1994). In Russian and English.
- Nekrasova, Maria, et al., Russian Painted Lacquerwork (Moscow: Galart, 1997). Covers the work of one artist from each of the four villages: Gennady Larishev of Fedoskino, Lev Fomichov of Mstyora, Boris Yermolayev of Palekh, and Nikolai Baburin of Kholui. In Russian and English.
- Pirogova, Lyudmila, Russian Lacquer Painting: 21st Century (Moscow: Interbook, 2006).
- Pirogova, Lyudmila, Russian Lacquer Miniature from the Collections of Felix and Raisa Lifshatz (Bellevue: Amerussart, 2011). In Russian and English.
Items marked * can be bought by sending a cheque made out to Friends of Kholui to me, the editor, Joanna Tulloch, 12 Coolidge Close, Headington, Oxford OX3 7NP.
Don't forget to let Joanna know the UK address to which you would like the book(s) to be sent.