Philip Ruff

Portrait of the artist as a wanted man: Philip Ruff’s search for Peter the Painter

Cover image: a photo of Jānis Žāklis in an oval, over a photo of Houndsditch

Review of a 2018 book telling the story behind the Siege of Sidney Street, and telling the story of Peter the Painter's life.

Peter the Painter (Janis Zhaklis) and the siege of Sidney Street

Peter the Painter on his wanted poster

In October 2003 the Latvian press carried a number of articles about the Latvian anarchist Janis Zhaklis. These were largely based on the work of Philip Ruff who, after twenty years of research into the Siege of Sidney Street has identified Zhaklis as the most famous Latvian in London: Peter the Painter. His hunt through the archives continues but before the full story is published we thought it worth posting this article to whet your appetites. Pauls Bankovskis, who wrote this piece is a well-known journalist and novelist. His 2002 novel, Mister Latvia, was based on some of the characters involved with the events around Sidney Street.