2 June 2004
CARBURI, Marin, Comte (died 1782). Monument élevé à la Gloire de Pierre-le-Grand ou Relation des travaux et des moyens méchaniques qui ont été employés pour transporter à Pétersbourg un rocher de trois millions pesant, destiné à servir de base à la statue équestre de cet empereur. Paris: Nyon and Stoupe, 1777.
2° (425 x 283mm). 12 folding engraved plates by Sellier, mostly double-page. (Occasional very light spotting and discolouration). Contemporary French mottled calf, gilt spine.
FIRST EDITION of this remarkable feat of engineering. Charged with creating a monument to Peter the Great, the French architect Falconet decided that the traditional pedestals for equestrian statues would be too mundane for this project and decided that only a massive rock would be suitable. After a great deal of searching for a suitable stone a peasant informed the committee set up for the purpose that he had found an enormous rock in a marsh near the Gulf of Finland, measuring forty by twenty-seven by twenty-one feet. After most engineers had declared its removal impossible Catherine the Great turned to Carburi who in about ten weeks had the rock placed in the correct position. The author was a Greek who, in his youth, had committed some crime against his family (hinted at in the preface to this book), had banished himself from his native island of Cephalonia and had come to Russia where he found great favour with Catherine II. After the affair of the rock he resided a while in France, returned to Russia where he was enriched by Catherine, but after a short time returned to Cephalonia where he was murdered in his house by some of his workmen who were convinced that he was hiding enormous riches. Berlin Katalog 1794.
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