Fine, fresh example of the first edition of one of the most celebrated early ethnographies of Siberia
The French priest and astronomer, abbé Jean-Baptiste Chappe d’Auteroche, travelled to Siberia in 1761 to observe the transit of Venus. His account of this journey which occupies both parts of the first volume describes the meteorology, climate, fauna and minerals of the region, and also gives a sociological commentary. Though the publication received a warm welcome in France, it is said to have angered the Empress Catherine the Great for its unflattering description of Russian mores.
The entire volume II contains Chappe d’Auteroche’s own, new translation of Krashenninikov’s Opisanie zemli Kamchetki [Description of the Kamchatka land] (St. Petersburg, 1755, in Russian). Previously translated into English only in an abridged form, this is the first full, complete translation into a Western language. It “contains considerable material on Alaska and the northwest coast of America” (Hill collection).
“This work deserves attention for its attractive and accurate engravings, and for its forthright and sometimes provocative descriptions of Russian manners and character. [It] includes meteorological observations, descriptions of the climate, animals, birds, and insects, note on the iron ore, copper, and gold mines, etc.” (Hill).
Two parts of text in three volumes quarto (34 x 25.5 cm) and and 1 vol atlas (59.5 x 47 cm). Vol 1, part 1: Half-title, engraved frontispiece by Tilliard after le Prince, title, xxx, , 348 pp. with 29 plates, including 4 double-page and 1 table; Vol 2, part 2: half-title, title, 347-768 pp. with 8 plates; Vol.3: xvi pp., including title and half title, 628, [4 pp.] with 20 plates, all engraved by le Bas, Tilliard, St. Aubin, Baquoy, and others after le Prince, de Fecamp, and Moreau. Atlas: engraved frontispiece by Tilliard after le Prince, 30 maps, plans and profiles (on 24, some plates have been joined); occasional slight soiling and spotting. Text vols in contemporary mottled calf, spines gilt; atlas in recent half calf over marbled boards.
Provenance: Boris Berezovskiy (1946-2013, Russian businessman and politician).
Brunet I 1798; Conlon 68:685; Cohen 225 (wrong collation); Cox I 551-562; Hill 277.
Stock ID: 91559