Anna Akhmatova at the Fountain House in the Nineteen Twenties

Anna Akhmatova at the Fountain House in the Nineteen Twenties

Janet Quintrell Treloar

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Anna Akhmatova at the Fountain House

These paintings are intended to evoke something of the background to the life of the great Russian twentieth century poet Anna Akhmatova. They originate from drawings and watercolours done in St Petersburg, many of them in the shared apartment where the poet lived in a building behind the Sheremetiev palace, otherwise known as the 'Fountain House'.

Anna Akhmatova was famous before the First World War as a lyrical poet of unhappy love and celebrated for her slender beauty.

All the terrifying events of the Twentieth Century touched her directly. She was in Petrograd in 1917, and saw the looting and murder that went on in the revolution. Her first husband, Nikolai Gumilyov, was the first poet to die at the hands of the Bolsheviks in 1921. In the Great Terror of the thirties, both her third husband, Nikolai Punin and her son were taken into the Gulag. Punin was to die there. When the siege of Leningrad began in the Second World War, she broadcast stirring appeals to the citizens of the city.

Through her poems she was able to speak to the Russian people with whom she so closely and proudly identified.