PETER SIMON PALLAS (1741-1811)
Travels through the Southern Provinces of the Russian Empire, translated by F.W. Blagdon. London: John Stockdale, 1812. 2 volumes, 4° (294 x 232mm). 51 stipple-engraved plates, some with aquatint, most hand-coloured, some folding, and 4 maps, 3 folding. 29 line or line-and-stipple engraved vignettes, most hand-coloured. (First title severely creased, some light offsetting and light marginal soiling.) Contemporary blue morocco gilt with crest of Francis Egerton on covers, gilt spine compartments, gilt edges (extremities rubbed, covers sunfaded and scuffed). Provenance: purchased from B. Quaritch, London, March 1926, for £6 6s.
LARGE PAPER COPY of the second English edition. As the newly-appointed professor of natural history at the Imperial Academy of Science in St. Petersburg, Pallas undertook a six year expedition (1768-74) to explore distant provinces of the Russian empire. The journey (taking him first to the Caspian sea, and then across the Urals to Tobolsk, the Altai mountains, Omsk, Kolyvan, Tomsk, and Krasnojarsk, next to Irkoutsk, Lake Baikal, Oudinsk, Sélinghinsk, Kiakhta, the Amour river, and back to Krasnojarsk, thence to Tara, Jaitskoi-Gorodsk, Astrakhan, Tasaritzin and St. Petersburg) was first described in Reise durch verschiedene Provinzen des russichen Reichs (St. Petersburg, 1771-76). The 'extremely charming' English colour plate editions of 1802-03 and 1812 are said by Tooley to 'deserve a place in every colour plate collection for [their] numerous attractive coloured vignettes, an unusual feature. The plates themselves are also interesting technically, various forms of engraving being employed'. Many of these attractive plates are by and after the German artist, G. Geissler. Tooley 357-58; cf. Abbey Travel I, 222. (2)