London: Printed for W. Miller, 1803. Item #03460
Seventy-Three Fine Hand-Colored Stipple Engravings of The Russian Empire
With Descriptions Derived From Authentic Sources
[ALEXANDER, William]. The Costume of the Russian Empire, illustrated by a series of seventy-three engravings. With descriptions in English and French. London: Printed for W. Miller, 1803.
First edition, later issue. Folio (13 13/16 x 10 1/8 inches; 350 x 257 mm.). [xviii], 73 leaves of text. Text printed in English and French. Seventy-three hand colored stipple-engravings. Plates watermarked J. Whatman 1817, text watermarked 1811. A few plates with minor marginal discoloration and light offsetting onto facing text leaves.
Full contemporary red straight-grain morocco. Covers decoratively tooled in gilt and blind, spine with three wide and shallow raised bands, decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments, decorative gilt board-edges and turn-ins, all edges gilt. With the armorial bookplate of Holcombe Ingleby on front paste-down. Minor rubbing to lower joint. A n excellent copy.
"In the two former works of a similar nature to the present, - the Costume of Turkey, and the Costume of China, - the utility and advantage of such publications have been sufficiently dilated upon; and the approbation with which they have been honoured has evinced, that the opinion, the Publisher had formed of their value, was not ill-founded. This present work possesses all the advantages, which the former ones embraced, and has the further merit of rather a more systematic arrangement. The Russian empire is of an extent unknown to other modern nations, and hardly equalled by that of the Romans in the summit of their power. It embraces within its limits, nations the most various, with countries and climates the most opposite… The authenticity of the present work is undoubted, being in fact copied from a series of engravings begun at Petersburg in 1776, and finished in 1779… The descriptions to the plates have been derived from the most authentic sources, more particularly from Professor Müller's "Description de toutes les Nations de l'Empire de Russie -- Voyage en Sibérie, par D'Auteroche -- Description de Kamtshatka, par M. Kracheninnikow --Plescheëf's Survey of the Russian Empire -- Pallas's Travels through the Southern Parts of Russia -- Saür's Account of Commodore Billing's Expedition to the Northern Parts of Russia," &c. &c. as well as from information procured from several gentlemen, who have been resident for some time in different parts of that empire." (Preface).
"The fourth in the series of costume books issued by William Miller. The plates for this book are closely copied, but somewhat enlarged, from a book by J.G. Georgi published by Carl Wilhelm Müller in St. Petersburg, four volumes, 4to, 1776-80, under the patronage of the Empress. The text to this English edition is said to be by William Alexander." Abbey)
Abbey, Travel, 244.