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From Coniston to the Kremlin Opens


ART’s new exhibition, From Coniston to the Kremlin: Arthur Ransome’s Russian Adventures¬†marks the centenary of the Russian Revolutions with a remarkable story of war, revolution, amateur diplomacy and secrets. Produced in partnership with the Ruskin Museum, Coniston, it will be open at the museum daily until 3 September.

Part of From Coniston to the Kremlin


A tumultuous centenary

One hundred years ago this summer, Europe was embroiled in war. Massed armies continued to face each other in the trenches of the Western, Eastern and other fronts. At sea Britain and Germany sought to starve each other into submission. In April, 1917, the United States had declared war.

Barely two months before that Russia had been convulsed by revolution. A provisional government appeared to be in charge. Out of sight to most Western journalists, the Bolsheviks were preparing to take control. Three years before, at the start of the First world War, Ransome had been an amateur among professional war correspondents, a Bohemian literary critic and folklorist with deep roots in Coniston. As 1917 progressed he found himself drawn ever deeper into political journalism and the politics, diplomacy and secrets that he sought to observe and report.

By the time his decade of Russian adventures ended, in 1924, he had written classic folklore, become a skilled journalist, witnessed both war and revolution, played chess with Lenin, married Trotsky’s secretary, come to the attention of both MI5 and MI6 and helped Estonia gain independence. He had also become the writer who would pen Swallows and Amazons, the classic for which he is best known today.

The Ruskin Museum where From Coniston to the Kremlin is currently open

We’re very grateful to Vicky Slowe, curator at the Ruskin Museum, and to the museum’s trustees and staf for all their help with From Coniston to the Kremlin. Our thanks are also due to Special Collections, University of Leeds Library, the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry (part of Lakeland Arts Trust), in Kendal, John Hibbert and The Arthur Ransome Society for the loan of exhibits for the the exhibition.


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