Person    | Male  Born 27/9/1883  Died 7/6/1969

Boris Anrep

Categories: Art, Craft / Design

Countries: Russia

Mosaic artist. Also wrote poetry in Russian and English. Born Russia. Came to England in 1899 to learn English. Spent time in St Petersburg, Edinburgh and Paris. A 1904 visit to see the mosaics in Ravenna inspired his life's work. Served in the Russian army in WW1. Came to London in April 1917 and never returned to Russia.

Became closely associated with the Bloomsbury Group. Lived in Hampstead during most of WW2. He returned to Paris but returned to London after 1965, Hyde Park Gardens where he lived the last part of his life. We are grateful to London Historians’ member, Helen Szamuely, for much of this information.

Mosaic works by Anrep in London: the Blake Room in Tate Britain (1923, post-WW1 bomb damage); 4 floors in the portico entrance to the National Gallery (1926-52); the Bank of England entrance (1927-42); the Greek Orthodox Saint Sophia Cathedral, Moscow Road; the Blessed Sacrament Chapel Westminster Cathedral (1956-62). He also created a Nativity alter front panel for a side chapel in the Notre Dame de France church in Leicester Place (at one time covered by a Jean Cocteau work but again on display; the church is worth a visit).

Writing about Anrep's work Patrick Comerford has "Another commission was the vestibule in Mayfair for Sir William Jowitt, showing Various Moments in the Life of a Lady of Fashion (1922). Lesley Jowitt was shown telephoning in bed, in her bath, and at a nightclub." 

Anrep did not lay mosaics in situ. Instead the designs were drawn in reverse onto strong paper and then each of the mosaic tesserae was glued to the paper. The whole could then be placed onto the prepared concrete floor and water was used to remove the paper.

Anrep was one of the first modern day artists both to design and to execute mosaics.

Afisha London has an interesting piece concentrating on Anrep's romantic life. He married twice (Yunia Khitrova and Helen Maitland) and had numerous affairs, including with Anna Akhmatova, Maria Volkova, Ottoline Morrell, Jeanne Reynal and Maud Russell who he 'stole' from Ian Fleming.

A professional artist friend excuses her non-sporting inclinations by claiming that the two fields are mutually exclusive. Over many years we have failed to find a single example to prove her wrong, and then along comes Anrep: in 1920 he competed in the men's doubles at Wimbledon. But he is a rare exception to the rule. And in this context we must mention Yves Klein, the avant garde artist was also a black belt judo master. Klein was in London, 1949-50, working in an Old Brompton Road frame shop assisting in the preparation of colours, varnish, etc., but no plaque, as yet.

This section lists the memorials created by the subject on this page:
Boris Anrep

Creations i

Mosaics - emblem

The star is surrounded by an English rose, a Scots thistle, an Irish clover s...

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Mosaics - Queen Elizabeth II

BRITT:OMN:REGINA + ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA {On a modern label below:} Queen ...

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Mosaics - William and Mary

GVLIELMVS.ET.MARIA.DEI.GRATIA. {On a modern label below:} William III and Ma...

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