The Costume of the Russian Empire,
illustrated by a Series of Seventy-three Engravings. With Descriptions in English and French.London: W. Miller, 1803 Stock Code: 80409
First edition, first issue, plates and text watermarked 1796 as called for by Abbey. The preface asserts that "the authenticity of the present work is undoubted", with good grounds since the plates are reproduced, enlarged, from those in Johann Gottlieb Georgi's Rußland, published St. Petersburg, 1776-80, with a French language edition published simultaneously with the German edition, and an English edition in 1780-83. Georgi was one of the savants drawn to Catherine the Great's Russian Enlightenment, and undertook the first scientific ethnographic study of Greater Russia, enquiring into the cultures on the fringes, the Finns, Tatars, Samoyeds, Manchurians, Mongols and Cossacks, and published the earliest scholarly account of Siberian Shamanism and Mongol Buddhism. All of these ethnic groups are illustrated in this superb suite of plates, with great attention paid to the details of their characteristic costume.
Folio (351 x 268 mm). Contemporary full calf expertly re-backed, title gilt to the spine, raised bands, compartments tooled in gilt and blind, boards similarly attractively tooled with concentric panels in gilt and blind, pearl and thread edge-roll, marbled edges and endpapers, floral roll to the turn-ins.
73 fine hand-coloured stipple-engraved plates by J. Dadley, original guards in place.
A little rubbed, rebacked with the original spine laid down, slight discolouration of the joints, repairs to the corners, bookplate removed from the front pastedown, some light browning, a very good copy.
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