Monument to Peter the Great in Glaisher Street, Deptford

Monument to Peter the Great

As is well-known, Peter the Great lived in Deptford for some months in 1698–in fact, he lived in the house of John Evelyn the diarist, and made a pretty good job of wrecking it–while he was studying the craft of shipbuilding in the Royal Dockyards which were then located there.  And (as can be seen above) there is indeed a monument to his stay, placed between Greenfell Mansions and the river.

A dwarf-cum-jester

In his book Russkiy London (Russian London), S. K. Romaniuk expresses his displeasure with this ensemble:

It was produced by the sculptor Mikhail Shemyakin, ‘famous’ for the crowd of monsters of one kind or another that he donated to Moscow and are erected in Bolotnaya Ploshchad, and the disgraceful figure of Tsar Peter in the Petropavlovsk Fortress in Petersburg.  Both these monuments aroused the ire of the inhabitants, both of Moscow and Petersburg.

…in a row there stand a rounded dwarf-cum-jester, for some reason with navigational instruments in his hands (the sculptor is perhaps emphasising that these maritime instruments were just a jester’s plaything) then an elongated statue of Peter with proportions distorted and, to the right of him, a chair with a high back….All of this seemed too little to the sculptor, and for some unknown reasons he added a pair of cannon besides.

Looks like the typical kind of statue you see everywhere in Russia these days–not as large as the ones in Moscow, and not nearly as numerous as those in Ulyanovsk.

Probably I need to take some pictures in the morning when the thing’s in the sunlight.

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