“Peter the Great” woodworker, shipbuilder and turner

 John Hayes speech mentioned this painting by p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: Times; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; } Daniel Maclise of Peter the Great, Tsar and founder of modern Russia.

Peter is not the posh gent to the right that is the English King William III, the scene is the shipyard at Deptford and Peter was there to learn from the English shipwrights who were some of the best in the world. Peter is the young chap with sleeves rolled up and saw in hand to the left.

How wonderful to think of such a modern, forward thinking monarch delighting in handwork. Peter spent much time traveling in Europe searching out the best of ideas and technologies to introduce to Russia, he spent 4 months working in the Dutch shipyards. He was also a talented turner particularly fascinated by ornamental turning lathes. A contemporary described his daily routine when back home.

“The sovereign wakes up very early. From three to four o’clock in the morning he attends the secret council. Then he goes to the shipyard and keeps his eye on shipbuilding. He often works himself, as he knows the job in details. At nine or ten o’clock he is busy with the turner’s work in which the Tsar is so skilled that would be in no way inferior to anybody.”

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4 Responses to “Peter the Great” woodworker, shipbuilder and turner

  1. Tico October 30, 2010 at 12:23 am #

    Maybe he was keen on building his Navy and enjoyed learning about the trades, but he was nothing short of brutal to vast multitudes of human beings. Let's not get too dewy eyed about him just because he deigned to do work with his hands.

  2. Robin Wood October 30, 2010 at 6:57 am #

    Thanks for pointing that out Tico, I know little about him other than having learnt a little about his interest in shipbuilding, city building etc.

  3. Tico October 30, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    History casts him, ultimately, as an important avatar, bringing his country out of the medieval age, but, like all powerful rulers, ruthless. The toll exacted on peasants to build St. Petersburg was horrendous. A good biography abpit him is:"Peter The Great – His Life And World" by Robert K. Massie".

  4. Walter November 1, 2010 at 5:23 pm #

    Tico, you had to turn an interesting story of a great leader (hence the Peter the Great title) into a political diatribe. He was not brutal, as you make him out to be. Name a few of his “brutal dealings” against the Russian people? You find shaving beards and trying to make ones people modern as brutal? His main right hand man was a freed slave named Hanibal, whose descendants were notable individuals within Russian history. Do you know Pushkin? Pushkin wasn't white; one can say he was a Black Russian. Pushkin is considered a Russian idol (a descendent of Peter the Great’s freed slave). I would say Peter was way before his time, freeing black slaves when it was acceptable to sell them all throughout the world. Now, perhaps you should shed some light onto slavery, Tico? Who started that concept? Who perfected the business strategy and turned slavery into an industry. Let’s not forget that Russians never had plantations full of black slaves. Furthermore, the Russians aren’t part of the list of countries or monarchies that monetized and turned slavery into a global business. Tico, your statement only shows you have great animosity against a people you know nothing about. It appears as though you have a great disdain against Russians; perhaps too much of the anti Soviet propaganda during the Cold War days. A cheap shot against a reputable historic person to attack the Russians is considered bad form, Tico!! Wonderful story, Robin. The story truly brings great credit to Peter the Great. I thank you for the post.