London, South Kensington
7 June 2010
KHEMNITSER, Ivan Ivanovich (1744-1784). Basni i skazki. [Fables and Tales.] St. Petersburg: Imperial Press, 1799. 8° (193 x 125mm). Engraved frontispiece printed in two colours, ten vignettes some of these printed in various colours. (Some soiling on the half-title and frontispiece.) 19th-century Russian half-calf (joints starting, extremities rubbed). Provenance: 'A.G.' (small title stamp) -- a Russian noble library (armorial bookplate) -- 'Printed in Russia' (title stamp) -- Martin Winkler (bookplate).
First complete edition of this collection of tales by 'one of the most important precursors of I. A. Krylov' (Smirnov-Sokol'skii). A very elegant edition with colour-printed vignettes by A. Olenin and published by the author's friends N. L'vov and V. Kapnist. The edition was selected by the Russian State Library for its publication of highlights from the collection (Rossiiskaia Gosudarstvennaia Biblioteka, M: Klassika, 2006, 170). Some copies, issued later, were published without the vignettes. The first three editions comprised only two parts. Bitovt 2587; Kilgour 503; SK 7958; Smirnov-Sokol'skii 284.
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