Russian kitchen-maid

Russian kitchen-maid
Accession number: 
Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford

Studio portrait of a Russian woman, a kitchen-maid, standing, wearing an apron, holding a saucepan in her right hand.

Photographer: William Carrick studio (St. Petersburg, Russia), labelled ‘W. Carrick’
Date of photograph: 1860s
Continent: Europe
Geographical area: Central and Eastern Europe
Country: Russia
Region/Place: St. Petersburg
Cultural group: European Russian
Format: Carte de visite
Size: 103 x 62 mm
Acquisition: Joan Evans. Donated August 1941


Exhibition label: ‘One of eight cartes de visite collected or purchased by Arthur Evans and, like the rest of the material in the case, donated to the Pitt Rivers Museum after his death by his half-sister Joan Evans in 1941. This example is one of four photographs by William Carrick, the son of a Scottish timber merchant, who established a photography studio in St. Petersburg in 1859. After working initially with little success, Carrick achieved recognition in the 1860s as a photographer of local people and places, travelling widely in his adopted country. Carrick is considered among the earliest ethnographic photographers in Russia, and his images here show various Russian “types”, including a kitchen-maid, a basket-seller, a cream seller and a peasant.’ Source: ‘Travels in Finland and Bosnia-Herzegovina: An Ethnographic Collection of Sir Arthur Evans’, exhibition curated by Philip Grover, Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, 29 April to 1 September 2013.

Primary documentation: ‘[p.588] Dr. JOAN EVANS, from the property of the late SIR ARTHUR EVANS, Youlbury, Boars Hill, Oxford. [List of items follows]’; ‘[p.590] 29 Photographs of Russian types, in box’: Pitt Rivers Museum accession records (Donations X, 1937–1941), pp.588, 590. Notes on mount: ‘W. CARRICK, 19, petite Morskoi’ (printed on mount card); ‘PHOTOGRAPHIE/ W. CARRICK/ 19, petite Morskoi/ à/ ST. PÉTERSBOURG’ (printed on reverse of mount card).

Research notes: This carte de visite has been identified as a photograph by William Carrick, taken from the printed information in Russian and French on the reverse. Carrick’s studio is described as being located at ‘19 petite Morskoi’, or No. 19 Malaya Morskaya [literally, ‘19 Little Morskaya street’], in St. Petersburg. The subject has been identified by Philip Grover as a ‘kitchen-maid’, from captioned photographs by Carrick of the same individual in collections elsewhere. William Carrick (1827–1878) was a photographer, of Scottish descent, who opened a studio at 19 Malaya Morskaya (just off Nevsky Prospect), in St. Petersburg, in 1859. He achieved some success as a commercial portrait photographer but ultimately made his name as a photographer of Russian folk scenes, both urban and rural, and of painting: Jeremy Howard, ‘Carrick, William (1827–1878)’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online edition), (accessed 29 January 2013). For more information on Carrick’s life and career, see Felicity Ashbee and Julie Lawson, William Carrrick, 1827–1878 (Edinburgh, 1987); Sergei Petrov, ‘William Carrick and Russian Culture’, translated and edited by Felicity Ashbee, Scottish Slavonic Review, 5 (1985), pp.72–87; Felicity Ashbee, ‘William Carrick: A Scots Photographer in St. Petersburg, 1827–1878’, History of Photography, 2/3 (1978), pp.207–222; and Felicity Ashbee, ‘The Carricks of St Petersburg’, in The Caledonian Phalanx: Scots in Russia (Edinburgh, 1987), pp.90–105.