Three Scots Tombs in Riga



Jackson Williams K (2020) Three Scots Tombs in Riga. Northern Studies, 51, pp. 50-63.

IN THE final decades of the eighteenth century and the first of the nineteenth, the schoolmaster and antiquary Johann Christoph Brotze recorded hundreds of funeral monuments and epitaphs spread across the Russian Baltic provinces of Estland, Livland, and Kurland. Amongst these were three richly decorated effigial slabs in the Jacobikirche in Riga, all commemorating Scottish officers of the Thirty Years' War: James Scott (and his wife Margaret Gibson), Matthias Forbes, and Edward Johnstone. None of these monuments have survived-they were probably already lost by the beginning of the twentieth century-and Brotze's drawings, the unique record of their existence, are unknown to Scottish scholarship. 1 This alone makes them worthy of interest. They are, however, important artefacts for more reasons than simply antiquarian curiosity: they also provide new information on prominent Scots abroad and allow for the further development and honing of theories concerning the cultural assimilation and/or ʻScottishness' of Scots furth of the realm during the early modern period. The present paper reproduces and contextualises Brotze's record of these monuments, editing their inscriptions for the first time, and uses them to argue that such artefacts performed acts of cultural translation, acts which served to establish and make legible elite Scottish immigrants in their new surroundings across Europe.

Epigraphy, Scots Abroad, Riga, Visual Culture

Northern Studies: Volume 51

Publication date30/09/2020
Date accepted by journal01/09/2020

People (1)


Dr Kelsey Williams

Dr Kelsey Williams

Associate Professor, English Studies