Eleanor Gawne, October 2015
A rare Russian periodical has come to light in the AA Library book storage area. Its title is ‘Architecture and Art Weekly’, published by the Imperial Academy of Arts (or possibly the Imperial Society of Architect- Artists) in Petrograd, Russia. The Executive Editor was A.A.Staborovsky.
Dating from a year before the start of the Russian Revolution, the journal includes a range of illustrated articles on contemporary and historic architecture including the monuments and temples of Chinese Turkestan; Byzantine churches; a competition design for the resort town of Yevpatoria or Eupatoria, Crimea; and a competition design for “an imperial university in a capital city”. There are also many news items including information that the buildings of the Canadian parliament, Ottawa, had been destroyed by fire on 3 February 1916 (no.17 1916), and reports on Russia’s imperial military campaign including sketches of war-torn villages, trenches and fortifications (no.11, 1916).
The journal is entirely written in Russian, and was probably not very well read at the AA as there are several uncut pages. The Library holds an incomplete run of the journal (no. 1-9, 11-12, 14-17) from 1916 only.
The provenance of the journal is unknown. They may possibly have been acquired from A. E. Richardson, who was an AA member and wrote on classic architecture in Russia in The Architectural Review in 1915 and 1916. Less likely, the journals may have come from F.R. Yerbury, AA Secretary during the 1920s and 1930s, who visited the USSR in 1932. An exhibition of material collected by Yerbury in Russia was held at the AA from 1-24 November 1932. He mentions in an article in The Architectural Association Journal that he ‘managed to gather a fairly interesting collection of books’ whilst on his travels, some of which were given to the AA Library – these journals may have been among them (see ‘Impressions of Russia’, by F.R. Yerbury, AA General meeting, 31 October 1932, in ‘The Architectural Association Journal’, vol. XLVIII, 549, p. 115-135).