LE CLERC, Nicolas-Gabriel.

Histoire physique, morale, civile et politique de la Russie ancienne [-moderne].


Histoire physique, morale, civile et politique de la Russie ancienne [-moderne].

Versailles and Paris, Clousier for Blaizot, Froulle and Maradan, 1783-[94].

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Histoire physique, morale, civile et politique de la Russie ancienne [-moderne].


First edition of this encyclopædic work on Russia, with the celebrated atlas with fine views here in the preferred folio format.

Leclerc, actually Nicolas-Gabriel Clerc (1726-98), was doctor to the Duc d’Orleans. In 1759 he went to Russia where he first became doctor to Kirill Grigorievich Razumovsky, the celebrated last hetman of Cossacks. Leclerc spent almost twenty years in Russia, mostly Moscow, and returning to France in 1777 where Louis XVI recognised his merit. He wrote many medical works, but is now mostly known for his Histoire de Russie. Published after Leclerc put his numerous papers and notes in order, it documents all aspects of Russian life under Catherine the Great, publishing for the first time detailed data on the Russian army, economics, commerce etc.

The atlas volume contains fine plates after various talented artists, mainly Louis Nicolas de Lespinasse (1734-1808) who drew his views mostly after Makhaev’s celebrated engravings of St. Petersburg and the palaces around the city. The views of Russian provincial cities were inspired by very rare Russian engravings instigated by the Russian Academy of Sciences and produced in the late 1760s partly under Makhaev’s supervision.

These views and plans include 1. St. Petersbourg (plan surveyed 1753, engraved by P.F. Tardieu); 2. Vue de la Bourse et du Magasin des Marchandises (after Lespinasse); 3-6. Vue des bords de la Neva (after Lespinasse). 7. Vue de L’Amirauté et de ses environs (after Lespinasse). 8. Vue du Nouveau Palais (after Lespinasse). 9. Peterhoff (after Lespinasse).10. Vue d’Oranienbaum 11. Maison de Plaisance (Tsarskoe Selo after Lespinasse); 12. Plan de Kronstadt; 13. Vue de la Ville de Novrogorod 14. Vue de la Ville de Tver, 15, Plan of Moskou 16. Vue de Cazan; 17. Vue de Ville de Tobolsk; 18.Vue de la Ville de Catherinebourg; 19. Vue de Kiakta. The other plates include costumes, antiquities, regional maps and printed tables.


Seven volumes including 6 volumes 4to (27 x 21 cm) and an atlas volume folio (55 x 36 cm), comprising Russie Ancienne (vols 1-3), Russie Moderne (vols 1-3).
Histoire de la Russie Ancienne: Vol 1: .Half-title, title, [2], viii, XX, 510, [2] pp., with 2 maps including one folding, 29 plates; Vol. 2: Half-title, title, xxiv, 560, [4: errata and Avis au relieur] pp., 29 plates including 4 double-pages; Vol 3: Half-title, title, vi, [2], 748 pp., 7 plates.
Histoire de la Russie Moderne: Vol 1: Half-title, title, viii, 536, [4] pp., a large folding map (of the Empire), a double-page map, a portrait plate, 10 tables incl. 9 folding; table 9 bound at end of vol; Vol 2: Half-title, title, 620 pp., 6 plates; Vol 3: viii, 424 pp.; occasional spotting and browning, sometimes heavier in margins, quire Kk in Ancienne-I misbound and a closed marginal tear repaired.
Atlas (50.4 x 33.6 cm): 38 plates and 16 letterpress tables; plan of St. Petersburg with small loss restored — in all 114 plates and maps engraved under Née’s direction mostly after Chevalier (portraits) and Lespinasse (views), and 26 tables.
Text in contemporary mottled calf gilt, spine in 6 compartments with raised bands, red and green morocco labels lettered in gilt to second and fourth, marbled endpapers, atlas in recent half-calf over marbled paper bound to match.


Brunet III, 916; Cohen-Ricci 614; Hoefer X, 829-30.


Stock ID: 94458