THE COSTUME OF THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE, WITH 73 HAND-COLORED FOLIO PLATES
[MILLER, William, compiler]. The Costume of the Russian Empire, Illustrated by a Series of Seventy-three Engravings with Descriptions in English and French. London: William Miller, 1803 [circa 1818]. Folio (11 by 15-1/2 inches), modern three-quarter brown morocco gilt, raised bands, tan morocco spine label, contemporary boards, uncut. $4800.
Early 19th-century issue of the first edition, a large-paper copy, with 73 brightly hand-colored stipple-engraved plates by J. Dadley.
The plates for this edition were copied from a series of engravings begun at St. Petersburg in 1776 and finished in 1779 under the care and at the expense of C.W. Müller, for J.G. Georgi's work Beschreibung, "at the request of the late empress." Costume of the Russian Empire was one of a series of six costume books published by Miller over a four-year period. Other volumes in the series featured the costume of Turkey, Austria, China (two volumes), and Great Britain (see Abbey Travel 533). The popularity of these books created the demand for successive reprints— though the title-page of this copy states 1803, the year of the first edition, this is actually a reissue, as evidenced by the watermarks (1811 text, 1818 plates). Text in English and French, with a separate title page in each language. Abbey Travel 244. Colas 702. Lowndes, 530.
Plates and text generally clean and fine, hand-coloring vivid; light soiling and wear to title page and a few other preliminary text leaves. Contemporary boards rubbed, morocco-gilt fine. A beautiful, tall, wide-margined copy.