A Havering councillor’s translation of Russian book is published

A Havering councillor’s translation from Russian to English of a biography about an artist was published last week.

Cllr Andrew Curtin spent the summer translating the book, which was originally written in Russian about the biography of the life of early 19th century painter George Dawe.

The artist painted more than 300 portraits of Russian generals who were active during Napolean’s invasion of Russia for the Military Gallery of the Winter Palace and he worked in St Petersburg from 1819. The book, which was written by Cllr Curtin’s friend Dr Gelina Andreeva, is the first major biography of the painter’s life.

Cllr Curtin was well suited to the task as he has an MA Art History and Theory, and studied Russian language. From 1991 to 98 he would go to Russia for three months at a time to work at The Russian Museum, in St Petersburg to work on the archives.

He said: “She contacted me and said she needed it translated into English, and asked if I would like to do the translation. I was really glad to, and was flattered to be asked. It involved quite a lot of work over the summer,


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He said: “I finished translating it in the middle of August. At times I struggled to find the right word so it would not lose its meaning. The sentence structure is different in Russian so I had to turn it around completely.”

It was officially launched last Thursday at the National Portrait Gallery. He received an extra copy of the book at the launch, which he has donated to Central Library, in Romford.

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