Geoffrey and Alexander Yakovleff Correspondence.


Letters of 1945 between Egbert and Geoffrey Gowlland, and Alexander Yakovleff.    These concern a drawing of Peter Yeames Gowlland which GPG bought but which has subsequently thought to have been lost.. 

Alexander Yakovleff's first letter to Egbert


Alexandra Yakovleff to Egbert Gowlland  -  3rd August 1945



Dear Sir



I have for sale a rather pleasing portrait of a gentleman in pencil heightened with white (framed) at the back of which is written:


            “P. Y. GOWLLAND    -   IN MEMORY OF GRANDPAPA   -   B. E. G”


I am not quite sure of the initials.


The drawing is signed an dated


            “L. SANTINI   -   RAMA 1853”


A dictionary of artists says Luigi Santini was an architect.


The price is £2. 5. 0d.


Yours truly .. . .





Geoff to A Yakovleff  -  10th August 1945


Your offer of the 3rd inst. has been handed to me by my father Mr E Gowlland.


The P Y Gowlland you mention is a rather distant branch of the family; but I would be quite prepared to purchase the portrait if in reasonable condition.


Owing to extreme pressure of business, it is very difficult to get up to London now, and I wonder whether you could arrange to let me have the portrait to look at.


If satisfactory, I will send you a cheque by return.


Yours faithfully




Alexander Yakovleff to Geoff  -  2nd September 1945



Dear Sir


I delayed thanking you for your cheque [evidently Geoff had decided to buy the portrait] in order to enquire whether there were any more “relics” to be found, but drew blank.


With the portrait which you now have, I bought a Swiss landscape – a pen and ink (brown) drawing  It is inscribed in English “The Veveys”, but not signed.  It is very good and probably comes from the same source as the portrait.  Its authorship puzzles me.  It dates, I would say, from anything between 1840 and 1860.  I though that perhaps you might have heard of the family’s association with some landscape painter of note.  But, please, do not trouble to write unless by chance you happen to know.


Yours faithfully.



And there the matter ended, until in August 2009 the picture unexpectedly came to light: it was in the loft of the house of the late Mark Gowlland, Geoff's younger son, and had been found by Mark's widow, Julia.   Many years of storage had not improved the condition of both picture and frame (see illustration 1 below), but removed from the frame (2) it is easier to see, and the label stuck on the back by Geoff (3) confirms the details above.



Who is the "Grand-papa"?  Geoff assumed it to be Richard Symonds Gowlland, the grandfather of the subject, Peter Yeames Gowlland.  But might it not have been Peter Yeames Gowlland himself?  In which case who is the signatory "B.E.G"?  A puzzle . . . . . 


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