EC Rare Books


ORIGINAL ANECDOTES OF PETER THE GREAT First English Edition1788 Period tree calf binding and recently professionally re-backed to style, remains of ink inscription on the title page at the top not affecting text. Complete 448pp no engraved title page as found in later editions.
First English edition of this celebration of Peter III, in form of the 'ana' in fashion at that time. Stählin (1709 - 1785) had a deep knowledge of Russia and was an important academic figure, spending most of his life in St. Petersburg as Secretary of the Academy of Sciences. His present work also includes "An Alphabetical Account of the Persons on whose Authority the Anecdotes are Given, and of the Eye-Witnesses by whom they were related".
Famous collection of anecdotes about Peter the Great, based on eye-witness accounts which he collected for over twenty years during his life at the Imperial court in Saint Petersburg.
Staehlin had a lot of opportunities to assemble a nice collection of stories about Peter the Great: he was the teacher of the heir to the Russian throne Peter Fedorovich, and after the latter had become Peter III of Russia, Staehlin was appointed the Emperor's librarian. Staehlin's book was published only after his death in 1785. And quickly became popular: it was translated into Russian (1786; went through 5 editions in the 18th century), French (1787) and English (1788). The anecdotes describe different events in official and private life of Peter the Great, showing his personality and often sense of humor: what he did in Paris, Danzig, or Wittenberg at Luther's tomb; what was his taste for painting, attitude to strangers, his preferences in collecting; the stories tell of Peter's simplicity at meals, aversion to particular species of insects and hunting, his curiosity to know what foreign nations thought of him, how he entertained Dutch seamen at court, "Earnestness of Peter the Great to discover pious frauds and destroy superstition", "Indefatigable ardour of Peter the Great in investigating everything"; "The Czar lays the foundation of Petersburg" and others. The book is supplemented with an alphabetical index of persons who were the source of the anecdotes, including Grand Chancellor of Russia Count Alexey Bestuzhev, First Russian General Prosecutor Count Paul Jaguzhinsky, personal doctor of the Empress Elizabeth Johann Hermann Lestocq, General Fieldmarchal Count Muennich, British ambassador in Saint Petersburg Rondeau, first director of the Library of Russian Academy of Sciences Daniel Schumacher and others. From the Preface to the first English edition (London: J. Murray, 1788): "A more authentic work was never published: he [Stählin] acquired the anecdotes it contains from the most respectable persons of the court and city" (p. 5). Staehlin came to Russia in 1735 and stayed there till the end of his life. A talented artist and engraver, he was in charge of the Arts department of the Imperial Academy of Sciences (future Russian Academy of Arts). Staehlin became famous for his engravings in the sumptuous coronation album of the Empress Elizabeth of Russia (1741), the first geographical atlas of the Russian Empire (1745), large views of Saint Petersburg and Tsarskoe Selo, portraits of the Empress and Grand Duke Petr Fedorovich, a series of commemorative medals made under assignment of Catherine II, and for beautiful engraved views of numerous fireworks, which he was also the organiser of.

2750 USD
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