Uncommon work on St. Petersburg published on the occasion of the first jubilee of the Imperial capital.
The book is structured chronologically, describing the history of the city from the reign of its founder Peter the Great until the era of Alexander I. The city’s impressive growth within one century is clearly shown on multiple large maps accompanying the text, dating from 1716 to 1805. The work is dedicated to the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna who, like the author himself, had German roots.
Reimers saw the rapid development of the city as a direct result of the iron will of its Russian rulers, who strove to turn their capital into a paradise on Earth by any means necessary. The author illustrates his point with many contemporary testimonies and anecdotes. He gives as an example Paul I’s urgent order to turn Nevskii Prospect into a green alley in the middle of a severe winter, for the purpose of which flower beds were heated with boiling water and saplings were brought from the Imperial gardens and purchased at incredibly high prices from private individuals. Unsurprisingly, none of the trees survived, and the project had to begin again from scratch.
Reimers’ account also serves as a valuable guide to the city at the height of its splendour, containing descriptions of the landmarks of the Imperial capital and the city’s glorious art collections, as well as of public institutions, educational and medical facilities and businesses.
This work is rare when complete. The copy in the collection of the Russian National Library is missing two plans.
In addition, our copy has a very rare index of plans of Saint Petersburg, bound in in 1807. We could locate only one copy of this in WorldCat, in the collection of the Erfurt University library.
2 vol. Small 8vo (20.4 x 12.6 cm). Frontispiece, title, pp. xl, 3 – 390, with one folding table; title, pp. xviii, 442, 16, with 5 folding plans of St. Petersburg, including 1 in contemporary hand colour, 2 folding tables; quire l in vol. I misnumbered, without half title in vol. I, small marginal waterstains. Contemporary brown boards, green paper labels to spines with gilt lettering, paper shelf marks; slightly rubbed.
Provenance: Stadtbibliothek Dresden (stamps to some pages).
Holzmann/Bohatta III, 3616; Recke/Napiersky III, 502; Engelmann II, 759.
Stock ID: 94941