An Account of a Geographical and Astronomical Expedition to the Northern Parts of Russia
An Account of a Geographical and Astronomical Expedition to the Northern Parts of Russia
An Account of a Geographical and Astronomical Expedition to the Northern Parts of Russia
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An Account of a Geographical and Astronomical Expedition to the Northern Parts of Russia

MARTIN SAUER, 1802

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An Account of a Geographical and Astronomical Expedition to the Northern Parts of Russia
Martin Sauer, 1802
SAUER, Martin (fl. 1785-1806). An Account of a Geographical and Astronomical Expedition to the Northern Parts of Russia. London: A. Strahan, 1802.

First edition from the library of the illustrator, William Alexander, extra-illustrated with an original signed watercolor and extra states of most plates, the Wickersham-Streeter copy. "This is the first account in English of the first major exploring expedition sent out by the Russians to the Frozen Ocean and the north Pacific after Bering’s second expedition of 1741" (Streeter). The expedition was led by Commodore Joseph Billings, who had been appointed by Catherine the Great; they visited Kodiak, Montague Island, and Prince Williams Sound, producing detailed charts and marking the close of the Russian surveys on the Eastern coast of Siberia.

Martin Sauer, the author of this account, was appointed as Private Secretary and Translator to the expedition. The book contains early mentions of mammoths as definitively extinct animals, following Georges Cuvier’s paleontological study, while the appendices provide vocabularies of the languages spoken in the areas visited, Catherine the Great's instructions to the crew, and other material relating to the expedition. The expedition artist, William Alexander, was a skilled watercolorist and later assistant keeper of antiquities in the British Museum. This is his copy, with an original watercolor of one of the plates depicting “A Man and a Woman of Oonalashka” tipped in. Hill 1528; Howes S-117; Lada-Mocarski 58; Sabin 77152; Streeter sale 3499 (this copy); Wickersham 6134 (this copy).

Quarto (270 x 210mm). Without half-title; engraved folding map of Bering’s Strait, 33 engraved plates, comprising 3 landscape elevations and 14 ethnographic illustrations after Alexander of which 9 are present in 3 states and 1 is present in 2 states, one original watercolor by Alexander for plate 5 (occasional spots, a little dustsoiling at beginning ). Rebound in half diced Russia using original marbled boards and endpapers. Provenance: William Alexander (1767-1816, illustrator; armorial bookplate and presentation inscription) – James Wickersham (1857-1939, district judge for Alaska) – Thomas Streeter (1883-1965; his sale, 22 April 1969, lot 3499).

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