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
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
- 1 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 2 Louis van Gaal gets tough with Manchester United players, with Darren Fletcher and Luke Shaw berated in public and Phil Jones left looking bemused
- 3 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 4 Peaches Geldof inquest: Tragic final moments of socialite's life reveal she lied to husband about failed heroin tests
- 5 Israel has discovered that it's no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media
£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...
£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...