Drevnosti Rossiskago Gosudarstva: Izdaniya po Vysochaishemu Poveleniyu [Antiquities of the Russian State: Published by the Highest Command]. Moscow: Aleksander Semyon, 1849 - 1853
6 volumes, bound in 9, large folio (23 x 17 1/2 in.; 584 x 444 mm.). 470 chromolithographic plates, each 21 x 15 3/8 in.; 534 x 390 mm. laid in on heavy gray wove paper, 6 chromolithographic title-pages; lacking the 4to text volume, lacking 38 plates (see below), some of which have been supplied in photocopy, some foxing and marginal creasing, tissue guards yellowed and torn. Contemporary green pebbled cloth; rebacked and corners renewed in black calf, some with original backstrips laid down but these loosening, some scuff-marks and tears.
Olenin’s magnificent project to document russian life and society
A.N. Olenin, President of the Academy of Arts and Director of the Public Library, advanced the idea in 1841, and employed the services of the artist Feodor Grigoriev Solnstev (1801-1892) to produce lithographs and drawings of articles from domestic, clerical and royal lives, ranging from cooking utensils to lavish Imperial robes and jewels.
The project was a great success, and Tsar Nicholas I ordered a committee formed to organize the publication. Earl Stroganov was appointed head of the committee, and he wrote the text [lacking in the present lot], while Solnstev provided the images, and the Tsar allocated one thousand gold rubles for the project. The first volume appeared in 1849 without the artist’s name; the last 5 volumes appeared in 1853. Six hundred copies were produced, and according to Solnstev, only thirty years later, the volumes were extremely rare.
Contents of volumes (and lacking plate numbers):
Ia: Plates 1-54, title-page.
Ib: Plates 55 – 112; lacking 66, 77, 79, 86, 91.
IIa: Plates 1-51, title-page; lacking 11, 12, 23, 24, 34, 35, 38, 39.
IIb: Plates 51-101; lacking 51.
IIIa: Plates 1-73, title-page; lacking 13.
IIIb: Plates 74-147; lacking 83, 93, 95, 105, 112, 114, 133-138.
IV: Plates 1-37, title-page.
V: Plates 1-72, title-page; lacking 18, 30, 39, 41, 42, 43, 45, 48, 56, 69.
VI: Plates 1-39, title-page; lacking 10.
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