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Mini Biographies of Scots and Scots Descendants (E)
Erskine, Robert

(1677-1718) He was the first of many Scottish physicians to the tsars and was put in charge of all medical services in Russia. His great library became the core of the library of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Peter and Great carried a torch at his funeral.

Surgeon in Ordinary of Peter’s court, the Scotsman Robert Erskine or Areskin, as he was called in Russia, was an avid gatherer of Russian natural rarities or «the naturalia». When in 1714 the museum occupied the Summer Palace and required a special staff to look after and preserve it, Areskin was appointed «chief supervisor» of the collections. By gathering herbs and plants one by one and observing the process of their collecting, he later created numerous herbariums, like the first Russian herbarium, which was also made by him. These herbariums were arranged in the fashionable baroque style: each grass was placed in an elaborately carved holder.

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