A guest post by Tania Konn-Roberts, Honorary Research Fellow (formerly Head of Russian and East European Collections), University of Glasgow.
Hugh George Brennan, Glasgow University’s first lecturer in Russian, had lived and worked in Russia for many years prior to arriving in Glasgow with his Russian wife in 1917. When she died in Glasgow in 1942 he bequeathed a number of personal Russian items to the University in her memory.
These include Brennan’s Russian passports, Russian icons, a painted black lacquer box, a malachite writing pad and a roll blotter, a seal, various pen holders.
There are about 20 items in all and these can be viewed on The Hunterian’s Internet Museum System.
The malachite writing pad is particularly evocative as it has a romantic story attached. It carries inscriptions from various members of the Korostovetz family in Russia to Brennan. He spent 14 years with this family as the English and French tutor to their 4 boys and became a lifelong family friend.
Most of the family perished during the Russian Revolution but the two surviving sons eventually came to England and the grand-daughter of one will be coming to Glasgow in July to view these items and in particular the writing pad which bears a dedication to Brennan together with the signatures of her grandfather, great-uncles, great-grandmother and great-great grandmother.
A fuller account of Brennan and his Russian connection can be found in an article recently published in the journal Slavonica.