Lot 303A
  • 303A

Feodor Grigoriev Solntsev and F. Dreger Drevnosti rossiskago gosudarstva: izdaniya po vysochaishemu poveleniyu [Antiquities of the Russian State: Published by the Highest Command] Moscow: Aleksandr Semyon, 1849

150,000 - 200,000 GBP
400,000 GBP
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  • Feodor Grigoriev Solntsev and F. Dreger Drevnosti rossiskago gosudarstva: izdaniya po vysochaishemu poveleniyu [Antiquities of the Russian State: Published by the Highest Command] Moscow: Aleksandr Semyon, 1849
7 volumes in 8, of which 7 volumes large quarto (517 by 377mm) containing 508 chromolithographic plates and 7 title pages, text volume quarto (315 by 233mm) in Russian and French occasional slight foxing, nineteenth-century green morocco elaborately gilt, spine gilt, red morocco lettering pieces, edges striped and gilt extremities very slightly rubbed

Catalogue Note

In 1841 a plan was underway to document every aspect of Russian life and society for future generations.  The project was the brainchild of A.N. Olenin, President of the Academy of Arts and Director of the Public Library.  He employed the services of the artist Feodor Grigoriev Solnstev (1801-1892) to produce lithographs and drawings of domestic, clerical and royal articles ranging from mundane items such as cooking utensils to the lavish Imperial robes and jewels.

The project was a great success and on 27th April 1844 under the command of Tsar Nicholas I a committee was formed to organise the publishing of the collection of lithographs, entitled Drevnosti Rossiskogo Gosudarstva.  The Earl Stroganov was appointed at the head of the Committee.  He provided the text, Solnstev provided the images, and the Tsar allocated one thousand gold roubles for the project. In 1849 the first volume of the first edition was published in which the editors forgot to include Solnstev’s name as the main artist.  The last of six volumes was published in 1853.  Six hundred editions in total were produced and thirty years post publishing Solnstev himself commented that the volumes were extremely rare. In 1852 an edition lacking the last two volumes was offered at the Imperial Publishing Library Auction and it sold for eight hundred roubles, more expensive at the time than Ivan Fedorov’s Apostle.