"MUCH PRAISED BY CONTEMPORARIES": TOOKE'S 1799 VIEW OF THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE, WITH ENGRAVED FOLDING PLATE
(RUSSIA) TOOKE, William. View of the Russian Empire During the Reign of Catharine the Second, and to the Close of the Present Century. London: T.N. Longman and O. Rees… and J. Debrett, 1799. Three volumes. Octavo, contemporary full tree calf gilt, red and green morocco spine labels. $1600.
First edition of Tooke's scarce survey of the Russian Empire at the end of the 18th century, with engraved folding map—a lovely copy in fine contemporary tree calf-gilt bindings.
While chaplain of St. Petersburg from 1774 to 1792, William Tooke "made the acquaintance of many members of the Russian nobility… and also of the numerous men of letters and scientists of all nationalities whom Catherine II summoned to her court… In 1792 Tooke was left a fortune by a maternal uncle, and returned to England to enjoy it and devote himself to literary production. His long residence at St. Petersburg, freedom of access to the imperial library there, and intimacy with Russian men of letters had given him exceptional facilities for the study of Russian history" (DNB). "Much praised by contemporaries, this comprehensive work [View of the Russian Empire] succeeded in promulgating Russia through the systematic translation and reconfiguration of source materials" (ODNB). Armorial bookplate.
Interiors clean and bright with only minor light foxing to first few leaves and folding plate. A very handsome copy of this early history of the Russian Empire in fine contemporary calf-gilt.