8vo (233 x 147mm), pp. [2 (title, imprint on verso)], [8 (preface, contents)], 486, [2 (plates and errata)]; 8 hand-coloured lithographic plates; light spotting to first and last few ll.; contemporary English half calf over marbled boards by S. Mepham, Dorchester, spine gilt in compartments, gilt morocco lettering-piece in one, green endpapers, all edges sprinkled red; extremities rubbed causing slight surface loss, slight cracking on hinges, nonetheless a very good copy; provenance: Crichel House, Dorset (inkstamp on upper pastedown).
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Russia: or, Miscellaneous Observations on the Past and Present State of that Country and its Inhabitants.
First edition. Robert Pinkerton was a missionary with the British and Foreign Bible Society who travelled extensively in Russia during the reign of Tsar Alexander I. He kept a journal of his impressions of Russia which forms the basis of this book.
Russia contains general observations on the Russian character and traditions, as well as information more specific to the author’s missionary interests such as details about the Russian Bible Society, the state of hospitals and prisons, and the condition of the Serfs. The preface states that Pinkerton offered the work to his ‘numerous friends and subscribers’ with the wish that it would ‘convey to them some instructive information, and enable them to form a just estimate of the character of this mighty people, concerning whom the most various and contradictory statements have been given to the British Public’. The work includes colour plates depicting scenes like villagers playing with their children and village amusements.
Abbey, Travel, 230; Colas 2395; Cross F66; The Exotic and the Beautiful 212; Hiler p. 712.
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