The first major exhibition outside of Russia to explore the work of the 19th-century painter and designer.

Elena Polenova's career has often been overlooked in favour of that of her older brother; the famed artist Vasily Polenov. However, in recent years her work has begun to receive its due recognition – a major exhibition at the Tretyakov State Gallery in Moscow in 2011 was the first since 1903 – and she has become known as one of the leading figures in the Russian craft revival.

Polenova found success as a furniture designer, developing traditional folk patterns into modern handmade wooden designs. These were produced by local, rural people and then sold in fashionable Moscow boutiques.

But she was also a talented watercolourist, textile designer and illustrator of children’s fairy-tales. As a young woman she studied under Pavel Chistyakov and then Ivan Kramskoi - both accomplished painters in their own right - and she also spent a stint at the studio of Charles Chaplin in Paris between 1869-70.

This display includes examples of Polenova's paintings, furniture and ceramics, as well as her rarely-seen original illustrations.

Watts Gallery – Artists' Village

Down Lane, Guildford, Compton, Surrey, GU13 1DQ

01483 810235

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Tues – Sun, 11am – 5pm
Closed Mondays (except Bank Holidays)

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