Complete example of an early edition of this famous civil calendar; very rare as such
The calendar was originally edited and published during the reign of Peter the Great by Count Jacob Bruce (1669 – 1735), a Russian statesman, military leader and scientist of Scottish descent. Besides astronomic information, the civil calendar included an astrological forecast for 1710 through 1821, which stirred up strong public interest and prompted numerous imitations.
The popularity of the calendar led to publication of several editions and numerous reissues during the XVII – XVIII centuries. As none of the earlier editions was dated, there is still a significant confusion in bibliographies, as well as auction catalogues, concerning different editions, publication dates and completeness of copies.
A research by Sokrat Klepikov (1895 – 1978), a senior bibliographer of the Russian State Library, is one of the few sources offering a coherent commentary on the calendar’s publication history, on which we rely in the description below.
Simultaneously with the “Large Bruce’s calendar” published in 1709-1715 on six broadsheets (a great rarity with only three complete examples known in Russian libraries) a “small” version was being prepared in a quarto format. However, for unclear reasons the publication encountered delays and presumably was completed only 3o years later – in the 1740s (after 1742). The edition was engraved from 47 plates that were used for seven further issues. In the 1780s new plates were engraved with larger font, which brought the number of leaves in the edition up to 49. The third edition, a copy of which is offered here, was prepared in the 1810s. More than half of the plates were specially re-engraved for the publication, including a new title page. Editors also added a new chapter titled “Ведомость, коликое число во время крестных ходов… святых икон допускается”, which further expanded the edition to 51 leaves.
All the editions described above are rare, especially when complete, as offered here.
Small oblong folio (20.8 x 32 cm). Title, 50 engraved leaves, including 9 folding, two leaves with watermarks “МФОМ”, contemporary inscription over the lower margin of several pages: “Иокима Васильева Спиридонова, куплен в 1838 году” [Of Iokim Vasiliev Spiridonov, bought in 1838]; several leaves with restorations, mostly marginal, some with small loss of text. Contemporary calf spine over modern marbled boards; spine rubbed. Kept in modern slipcase.
Klepikov, “Russkie gravirovanniye knigi XVII-XVIII vv. (Issledovaniya i materialy, 1964, sbornik 9), p. 161- 163; Ostroglazov 145 (this edition); Bitovt 2777 (this edition – “Great rarity”); Guberti, vol. III, 54 (1740s edition); Sopikov 4984; Gennadi, Vol. 2, p. 93; Berezin 126; Rovinskiy “Russkie narodniye kartinki”, Vol. 1, pp. 361 – 433.
Stock ID: 93732