FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST PRINTED ATLAS OF RUSSIA, AND ONE OF PETER THE GREAT'S MOST SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENTS
Russischer Atlas welcher in einer General-Charte und neunzehen Special-Charten das gesamte Russische Reich und dessen angräntzende Länder.vorstellig macht.
De L'Isle, Joseph Nicolas.$42,000.00
Item Number: 105840
St. Petersburg: Entworffen bey der Kayserl. Academie der Wissenschaften, 1745.
Rare first edition of the first atlas printed of Russia. Folio, bound in full leather, 19 double-page maps, one large folding general map. In excellent condition with light toning. An exceptional example.
"This atlas marks the summit of Russian cartography at the end of the first half of the 18th century" (Svodnyi Katalog). 'As the most complete representation of Russia to date, the atlas gave the European public a knowledge of the vastness and complexity of the Russian Empire' (Whittaker). In 1729, four years after accepting Peter the Great's invitation to come to St Petersburg, De L'Isle suggested an atlas of the entire Russian empire (to a single scale) on 16 sheets. In 1735 the Academy gave its backing, and measurements from a number of expeditions were co-ordinated to produce the present work. The text was issued in various languages: Russian, German, Latin and French, and in combination. Some copies are known with an engraved key on the verso of D2, with apparently no precedence established between the two states. Bagrow-Castner II, pp.177-253 (collation pp.243-244); Phillips, Atlases 4060; Whittaker, Russia Engages the World, pp.96-7. In commissioning this great Atlas De L'isle Russia's greatest reforming Tzar, Peter the Great made a significant contribution to the modernization of his vast empire of Imperial Russia. The enlightened Tzar also invited De L'isle to found a school of Astronomy in St. Petersburg, and although Peter the Great died a year before De L'isle arrived in St. Petersburg in 1726, he was successful in achieving both of his Imperial commissions. Together with his partner Ivan Kirilov they founded the school of Astronomy and began the immense task of surveying the Russian Empire. Eventually the two men parted company and Kirilov decided to publish his own incomplete atlas of Russia in 1734, eleven years before Deslis French team finished its more comprehensive work. Delisle's atlas contained virtually every map of Russia issued by the Academy of Sciences and its institutional predecessor, Akademia Nauk, up to and including 1745. On his return to Paris in 1747, Delisle was able to construct his own observatory in the palace of Cluny, the same observatory later made famous by French astronomer Charles Messier. Ralph E. Ehrenberg, "Mapping the World" (Washington D.C., 2006).