skip to primary navigationskip to content

Dr Rosalind Polly Blakesley MA DPhil

Dr Rosalind Polly Blakesley, MA DPhil

Head of Department

Reader in Russian and European Art

Fellow of Pembroke College

Director of Studies in History of Art, Pembroke College

Russian Art

The Arts and Crafts Movement

Office Phone: 01223 765577


Rosalind Polly Blakesley was educated at the universities of Cambridge and Oxford, and spent a year affiliated to Moscow State University while completing a doctorate on 19th-century Russian painting. She was then a junior research fellow at The Queen's College, Oxford, an affiliated research fellow at the Russian Institute of Art History in Moscow, and held teaching posts at the universities of Newcastle and Kent before returning to Cambridge in 2002. Her current research project is a book on Russian painting from the mid 18th to the late 19th century, for which she held a Leverhulme Research Fellowship from 2009-2010.

Research Interests

A specialist in Russian art and in the Arts and Crafts Movement, Blakesley has curated and advised on exhibitions in London, Cambridge, Moscow, Darmstadt, and Washington DC, and acted as an Independent Assessor on the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art. Media work includes interviews and programme contributions for BBC Radio 3, the Russian Service of the BBC, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and Voice of Russia. She has served on the advisory boards of academic journals and professional associations, and is a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery. Her teaching encompasses European art history from the 18th to the early 20th century, as well as specialist courses in Russian art and the Arts and Crafts Movement. Blakesley supervises a range of doctoral students working on Russian or British art history, with topics including the nature of artists' materials, Russian artists in emigration, and aspects of cross-cultural exchange. 

Blakesley co-directs the Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre (CCRAC), a bi-institutional research facility with developing international partnerships for the study of Russian and Soviet art. For CCRAC's various conferences and workshops which investigate the complexity of Russia's cultural production during the Imperial and Soviet periods, see

Key Publications


The Russian Canvas: Painting in Imperial Russia, 1757-1878 (in progress)

From Realism to the Silver Age: New Studies in Russian Artistic Culture (co-editor and contributor, 2014)

Russian Art and the West: a Century of Dialogue in Painting, Architecture and the Decorative Arts (co-editor and contributor, 2007)

The Arts and Crafts Movement (2006)

An Imperial Collection: Women Artists from the State Hermitage Museum (co-editor and contributor, 2003)

Russian Genre Painting in the Nineteenth Century (under her maiden name of Rosalind P. Gray, 2000).

Articles and chapters:

‘Ladies-in-Waiting in Waiting: Picturing Adolescence in Dmitry Levitsky’s Smolny Portraits, 1772-1776,’ Art History, vol. 37, no. 1 (February 2014), pp. 10-37. (

 ‘Cultural Leadership and International Dialogue between the London and St Petersburg Academies of Art, 1757-1805,’ The Slavonic and East European Review, vol. 92, no. 1 (January 2014), pp. 1-24. (

‘Pride and the Politics of Nationality in Russia’s Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, 1757-1807,’ Art History, vol. 33, no. 5 (December 2010), pp. 800-835. (

'Women and the Visual Arts' in W. Rosslyn and A. Tosi (eds), Women in Nineteenth-Century Russia: Lives and Culture (Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, 2011), pp. 91-117. (

'Art, Nationhood, and Display: Zinaida Volkonskaia and Russia's Quest for a National Museum of Art,' Slavic Review, vol. 67, no. 4 (Winter 2008), pp. 912-933 (

‘Dorich-khaus: vzgliad v budushchee iz tridtsatykh godov’ [‘Dorich House: a Look into the Future from the 1930s’] in N. V. Makarova and O. A. Morgunova (eds), Russkoe prisutstvie v Britanii [The Russian Presence in Britain] (Moscow: Sovremennaia ekonomika i pravo, 2009), pp. 167-174 (