Letter: No gift intended
Monday 18 December 1995
Sir: I am writing on behalf of my mother, granddaughter of Mikhail Petrovich Botkin, mentioned in your article of 15 December ("Master forger's legacy goes on sale"). Your article states that M. P. Botkin bequeathed "his magnificent collection of medieval and Renaissance art" to the Russian Museum in 1917. This is not the case. M. P. Botkin died in 1914 and his wife had the collection packed and handed "for safe keeping" to the cellars of the Hermitage.
The Byzantine enamels were placed in my grandmother's safe and, after the October uprising in 1917, the enamels and the collection were confiscated by the Soviet authorities. My mother, who is still alive, remembers many items from the collection, as she spent the war years in her grandparents' house in St Petersburg.
Some items from the Botkin collection were sold in the Thirties and appeared in Paris. The most well known piece is probably the "Barbarossa Armlet", which found its way into the Hirsch collection and was sold at Sotheby's in 1978 to the Germanische Museum in Nuremberg.
We are writing in the hope that this collection will remain intact and be put on display in Russia, and not split up and sold piecemeal, which could be its fate in these difficult times in Russia.
John W. Sowels
Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire
Life & Style blogs
Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time: 10 worst gadgets of recent times
The secret to a great sex life revealed: Two cups of coffee a day
New Zealand 'the best country to work as a prostitute', says sex worker advocacy group
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
Facebook status updates indicates whether a user is narcissistic or neurotic, research finds
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
- 1 Games of Thrones actor Lena Headey makes emotional promise to her unborn daughter
- 2 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 3 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 Picture of couple posing with beached dolphin 'that later died' causes outrage
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...