KONDAKOV, Nikodim Pavlovich (1844-1925). Histoire et Monuments des Emaux Byzantins. [Istoriia i pamiatniki Vizantiiskoi emali.] Frankfurt: A. Osterrieth, 1892.
4° (358 x 274mm). With the silk place-mark [zakladka]. Chromolithographic dedication, portrait frontispiece, additional title, and 31 plates. (First and last few leaves spotted, margins lightly browned.) Original morocco, sides and spine blocked and richly gilt, edges printed in various colours, original printed endpapers (without dust-jacket, place-mark detached and with a tear, binding browned and lightly rubbed at the extremities). Provenance: Georges Leÿgues (1857-1933; inscription).
FIRST EDITION. 'ONE OF THE MOST LUXURIOUS PUBLICATIONS OF THE 19TH CENTURY' (RGB). French Prime Minister George Leÿgues's copy. 'One of the greatest bibliographic rarities'; 'this book is undoubtedly a masterpiece of the Russian printing industry. It has no equals either in terms of workmanship or in terms of the funds involved (it cost 120,000 roubles in gold by the exchange rate for 1892' (Vengerov). After Zvenigorodskoi's death J.P. Morgan bought his spectacular collection, which is now housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Number 22 of 200 copies printed in French, from an edition of 600. Its recipient, George Leÿgues, was prime minister in 1920-21, and held various cabinet offices, most notably Minister of the Marine. Fekula 6705 ('magnificent'); Rossiiskaia Gosudarstvennaia Biblioteka, Moscow, 2006, pp.200-1; Russkie Knizhnye Redkosti, I, p.69; Vengerov, Old Russian Books, 77.