DE L'ISLE, Joseph Nicolas (1688-1768). Russischer Atlas. St. Petersburg: Academie der Wissenschafften, 1745.

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DE L'ISLE, Joseph Nicolas (1688-1768). Russischer Atlas welcher in einer General-Charte und neunzehen Special-Charten das gesamte Russische Reich und dessen angräntzende Länder...vorstellig macht. St. Petersburg: Academie der Wissenschafften, 1745.


Folio (21 x 12 4/8 inches). Letterpress title, 3 pages of explanation of the maps, 3 pages of geographical dictionary from Russian transliteration to German, the final page including an engraved legend in German. 19 fine engraved regional maps on double pages, including on map 19 "Ostium fluvii Amur." the extreme point of Alaska and the Aleutian islands (one or two pale stains along the lower edge of map 19), one large folding engraved general map of the Russian Empire (folds and some worm tracks expertly repaired). Contemporary half calf, speckled paper boards (calf expertly and recently renewed by James & Stuart Brockman Ltd., full report available on request).

Provenance: Large folding map annotated in red ink: "Reise des Grafen Beniowsky in Taho 1770 von Tobolsknach Cumtschatca" in a late 18th-century hand, and the route (outlined in red) that Moritz August Beniowsky took from Tobolsk to Kamchatka, a seaport in Siberia, after being imprisoned by the Russian Army for supporting a Polish uprising; discreet 19th-century armorial blind library stamp on front free endpaper and title-page; with Sotheby's, December 12th, 1994, lot 104


First edition in German of De L'isle's "Atlas russicus…", or, in German "Russischer Atlas..." In commissioning this great Atlas De L'isle Russia's greatest reforming Tzar, Peter the Great made a significant contribution to the modernization of his vast empire of Imperial Russia. The enlightened Tzar also invited De L'isle to found a school of Astronomy in St. Petersburg, and although Peter the Great died a year before De L'isle arrived in St. Petersburg in 1726, he was successful in achieving both of his Imperial commissions. Together with his partner Ivan Kirilov they founded the school of Astronomy and began the immense task of surveying the Russian Empire. Eventually the two men parted company and Kirilov decided to publish his own incomplete atlas of Russia in 1734, eleven years before Deslis French team finished its more comprehensive work. Delisle's atlas contained virtually every map of Russia issued by the Academy of Sciences and its institutional predecessor, Akademia Nauk, up to and including 1745. On his return to Paris in 1747, Delisle was able to construct his own observatory in the palace of Cluny, the same observatory later made famous by French astronomer Charles Messier. Ralph E. Ehrenberg, "Mapping the World" (Washington D.C., 2006), 135; Phillips 3109. Catalogued by Kate Hunter