Kniga, soderzhashchaia cheterzhi upotrebliaemykh nyne artileriyskikh orydii s prinadlezhnostiami onykh umen'shennye protiv natural'nykh v 8-yu dolyu, delannaia pri Vtorom Kadetskom Korpuse, kadetami onago v klasse Shtabs-kapitana Efimova-vtorago
[The Book Containing Drawings of the Artillery Arms Used Nowadays].
[St Petersburg], Vtoroy Kadetskiy Korpus, 1800
On 10 March 1800, in the same year that this album was created, the Artillery and Engineering Gentry Cadet Corps (Artilleriyskiy i Inzhenerniy Shliakhetskiy Korpus) was renamed the Second Cadet Corps by order of Tsar Paul I. It is therefore highly probable, considering the quality and importance of the album, that it was presented by the cadets to the Tsar.
The album consists of 95 detailed watercolour drawings of artillery, mainly canons and related equipment, skillfully executed and signed by the Cadets, with each page bearing a different signature. The subjects for the drawings were the standard for artillery in 1797, developed for the Gatchina artillery troops, which were under the direct command of Paul I. This emphasises the historical importance of the present drawings in terms of the military history of the Russian Empire, since 'even the State Archive of the Military and Historical Museum of Artillery in St. Petersburg doesn't have charts of the arms of the 1797 standard' (PhD thesis by Yurkevich E.I., 2003, p.22).
We have been able to find one other similar album, which resides in the Manuscripts department of the National Library of Russia (No. 139). This version however includes 124 drawings and is dated 1801, one year later, and interestingly includes the monogram on the title page of the new Tsar, Alexander I, who came to power following the assassination of his father Paul in March 1801. Perhaps the gift to Paul had to be updated and adapted for the new Tsar?
Large landscape folio (50 x 65.5 cm). Title, , 95 watercolours, each signed in ink. Contemporary red morocco by Reeb, St. Petersburg, large green morocco label with gilt lettering to upper cover, gilt border to boards, flat spine richly tooled in gold; slightly rubbed, corners very slightly bumped, preserved in a modern red morocco-backed box with transparent upper cover.
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