University of Hertfordshire

Tales from the ‘Russian Room’ at Down House, Kent

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

View graph of relations


Pat Simpson - Speaker

Invited talk given to members of the SCRSS at the Society's headquarters in Brixton. Abstract: Charles Darwin’s home at Downe in Kent, a memorial museum now owned by English Heritage, has an interesting secret. For a brief time between c1961 and 1964 it had a ‘Russian Room’. In this room were displayed commemorative paintings, monumental sculpture busts and photographic albums all sent to Britain by Professor Aleksandr Kots and his wife Nadezhda Ladygina-Kots, the directors of the Soviet Darwin Museum in Moscow. The period coincided with Khruschev’s ‘Thaw’, the decline of Trofim Lysenko’s power over Soviet bio-science, and the tentative resumption of Anglo-Soviet cultural and scientific relations. This talk examines some aspects of the strategic motivations for the gifts, their display and the eventual closure of the ‘Russian Room’.
21 Mar 2014

External organisation (Commissioned by)

NameSociety for Co-operation in Russian and Soviet Studies, SCRSS
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Research outputs

ID: 11627735