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Descendant explores Aivazovsky's life


A descendant of world-famous Russian marine painter Ivan Aivazovsky lives in London. Henry Sanford is now exploring the life of his great relative, and hopes to publish his memoirs, revealing a vivid image of the painter and some details of his private life.

Mr Sanford's father was an English officer, while his mother was a Russian, Olga Latri Ц Aivazovsky's granddaughter. His parents met and fell in love in the 1920s in Constantinople.

Mr Sanford also says he is very proud of his Russian origin but he never had time to trace the family tree Ц he was too busy working as a doctor before. Only now has he got time for gardening and writing memoirs.

"Oddly enough, Aivazovsky married a Scottish girl, so I'm a bit Scottish on my Russian side," says Henry Sanford.

Aivazovsky met a lot of outstanding personalities during his life. Tsar Nicholas I himself admired his creation and patronised the artist.

At 70, the painter was introduced to a young and promising writer Ц it was Anton Chekhov, who was about 30 years old at the time. Mr Sanford says Aivazovsky then told Tchekhov that he never liked to read books. The painter was so serious that Tchekov easily believed it, not realising that Aivazovsky was just teasing him.

Henry Sanford has a lot of stories like this in stock and he hopes the book of memoires will make an exciting reading.

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