SVENIN, Paul [СВИНЬИН, Павел Петрович] (artist).

Sketches of Moscow and St. Petersburg.


Sketches of Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Philadelphia, William Fry for Thomas Dobson, 1813.

SKU: 88722 Categories: , , Tag:


Fine example of this fragile early American imprint produced by a Russian artist in the USA. Svinin (1788-1839) became famous for his views of St. Petersburg. A painter, diplomat and journalist, he spent two years as part of the first Russian diplomatic mission to the United States. Soon after returning to Russia, he also published 'Travelling Across North America', one of the rare Russian works about that region.
Printed on slightly thicker paper, Svinin's lovely aquatint plates show celebrated views of both cities, as well as scenes and people, such as a Don Cossack and the “”ice mountains”” on the Neva. Though the title calls for coloured plates, the nine aquatints in this copy are uncoloured, as it is sometimes the case. The works includes also a folding engraved sheet of music “”A Russian National Song”” for guitar with piano accompaniment.
The work is the first version of the more common Sketches of Russia, published in London in 1814.

An uncommon work: we could trace only one example, coloured, offered at auction in the last 40 years. Although a few copies are held by American libraries (but not by Stanford and Harvard especially), we could find only one in Europe (Dresden; none in the UK).


8vo. (21 x 13.6 cm). Title, list of plates, portrait plate stipple engraved by D. Edwin after Svinin, 51 pp., with 8 aquatint plates by Kneass after Svinin, folding leaf of engraved music; light browning, occasional spotting, some small closed tear due to paper fragility, tear to music leaf neatly repaired. Contemporary half calf over marbled boards, flat spine gilt ruled; a bit rubbed.

Provenance: B.G. Johnson (ink inscription to title); A 19th-c. lending library? (inscription to upper fly-leaf by “”The Owner””, warning about the fragility of the book).


Not in Abbey Travel (mentioned under 225 though).


Stock ID: 88722