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An Essay at a Picturesque Voyage in North America].
Dreksler Skt. Peterburg 1815 - Duodecimo (16.4 x 10.2 cm). Title, [6], 219 pp., with 6 engraved plates; occasional light spotting and underlining in pencil, small light waterstain to upper margin of the last quire. Modern red calf gilt. First edition of what "would seem to be the earliest account of the United States as seen through the eyes of a Russian" (Yarmolinsky, p.17) The engraved plates, after Svinin's own drawings, include a view of the Niagara Falls and an African-American Methodist service. Shortly after entering the foreign service at the age of 18, Pavel Petrovich Svinin (also spelled Svin'in, 1787-1839) was given the opportunity to travel around the world. In 1811, his travels brought him to the United States as the Secretary to the Russian Consul-General Andrey Dashkov, based in Philadelphia. Svinin travelled along the East Coast from Maine to Virginia, and possibly further, before returning back to Russia in June 1813. Along the way, he sketched the American landscape, painted watercolours, and wrote articles. He was fond of the similarities between the United States and his home country including tolerance for different religions. Interestingly, Svinin left behind one of the earliest written descriptions of black church music in the United States. American steamboats and the public education system were also favourite subjects for this important Russian "artist-ethographer" (Korostin), who went on to travel extensively in Great Britain and Russia. Svinin's work became popular and probably because of a low printrun, a second, almost identical Russian edition was published in 1818, after a German edition in 1816. However the first complete translation in English appeared only in 2008, together with introductory essays (see A Russian Paints America. The Travels of Pavel P. Svin'in, 1811-1813, Edited by M. Swoboda and W. Benton Whisenhunt) Rare on the market: In the past forty years we could trace only one complete copy sold at auction outside Russia (in 1992). The great collector Smirnov-Sokolskiy owned only the second edition. Fekula 2977 (missing a plate); ????????, "?????? ?????????? ? ??????", ??????, 1953, pp. 59ff.; Obolyaninov 2417; Sabin 93992; Streeter 836; Yarmolinsky, "Picturesque United States of America 1811, 1812, 1813, being a Memoir on Paul Svinin," 1930; cf. Sm.-Sok. 1112 (2nd edition only). [Attributes: First Edition; Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Shapero Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2016-10-17           Check availability:      ZVAB    


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