The whole series: Akhmatova's first 'collected works'


Chetki [with] Belaia staia [with] Anno Domini

[Beads [with] White Flock [with] Anno Domini]

Publication: Zinaburg, Berlin, for Petropolis and Alkonost, Peterburg, 1923 [printed in Oct. and Nov. 1922].

AKHMATOVA, Anna, Chetki [with] Belaia staia [with] Anno Domini

Most of Akhmatova’s pre-1923 poetry in three matching volumes, including some new publications. Rarely found together in satisfying condition without restoration. With continuous bibliophile provenance and poems added in manuscript.

Read More


In stock

Our Notes & References

A fine set of these attractive editions, gathering most of Akhmatova’s poetry up to that point and mostly written during the world war, the revolution and the subsequent civil war. Born in 1889, Akhmatova was 33-year old when these editions were printed.

Most material was published before, however ‘Anno Domini’ includes 18 new poems. The volumes also boast, for the first time, two celebrated portraits of Russia’s great poetess: one in full length by Altman, and the other by Annenkov. The latter had been published in Annenkov’s ‘Portrety’ in 1922; but we couldn’t find any trace of earlier publication of Altman’s masterpiece – it may be its first publication.

Although they were sold separately -and are usually found so-, these editions were meant to form a consistent group, as the title pages indicate, being labelled “first book”, “second” and “third”. They are rarely found together, all with the same contemporary provenance as here, and without any restoration.

The volumes include in full the collections mentioned on the titles, but also add other cycles, either full or in extracts, such as Akhmatova’s very first collection ‘Vecher’ (in the ‘Chetki’ volume), her long autobiographical poem ‘U samogo moria’ (in ‘Belaia staia’), and ‘Podorozhnik’ (in ‘Anno Domini’). Thanks to their comprehensiveness, they form a first anthology of the poetess’ work at a crucial time, just a bit more than a year after the execution of her husband, the poet Nikolai Gumilev. They were also meant to satisfy a high demand, as some single collections were already sold out, even those recently published like ‘Anno Domini’ or ‘Plantain’.

It is worth noting that these editions are among the earliest publications of Akhmatova abroad: only ‘Chetki’ and ‘Belaia staia’ had seen light outside Russia in 1919-21, but not ‘Anno Domini’ nor the added cycles.

With continuous provenance since publishing: these three volumes stayed together since their publication, being recently owned by Ksenia Muratova (1940-2019), a grand-niece of the celebrated art historian Pavel Muratov; Ksenia was herself a noted art historian, Professor Emerita of Art History at Rennes 2 University in France, and founder of the Pavel Muratov International Center of Studies in Rome.

Ksenia Muratova received the books from her friend Valentin Glazberg (1901-86), whom she met in Paris: “one of my most beloved people, Valentin Naumovich Glasberg, appeared in my life, passionate for Italy and Muratov’s books, with whom we travelled through Italy, Greece, Turkey” (Nikolaeva, our translation).

Glazberg studied in Oxford right after having emigrated in the early 1920s, and then worked in France. His father was involved in the direction of Golike & Vilborg, one of the most prestigious Russian presses and publishers just before the Revolution: both father and son were bibliophiles, and Valentin owned a collection of lifetime editions of Pushkin. He also shared with Muratova a passion for art history, his own interest being Byzantine and medieval mosaics.

There are some pencil annotations throughout and poems added in ink at the end, as well as on a loose leaf, all of this showing attentive reading and comparison between various editions of Akhmatova’s work, either by Glazberg or by Muratova.


V. Glasberg, Paris, 30 Juillet 23 (inscription to first leaf of ‘Belaia Staia’, signature in other volumes); acquired from the estate of Ksenia Muratova.


On Glasberg: Nikolaeva M. P. (editor). Ariela Sef: rozhdennaia v getto, Corpus, 2011.

Item number



Physical Description

Three volumes 8vo (19.5 x 13.5 cm). Frontispiece after Natan Altman, 114 pp. inc. blank with publisher’s vignette designed by Iurii Annenkov, half-title and title, blank leaf; 142 pp. incl. leaf with publisher’s vignette designed by Annenkov, half-title and title, blank leaf; Frontispiece after Annenkov, 106 pp. inc. blank with publisher’s vignette designed by Mstislav Dobuzhinskii, half-title and title, blank leaf and a leaf loosely inserted.


Original publisher’s wrappers printed in blue and black.


Wrappers’ spines browned and fragile, covers partially detaching but holding, occasional light discolouration, rubbing or chipping, each cover with a pencil number from 1 to 3; ‘Anno D.’ with two leaves of publishers’ neatly cut out, occasional neat pencil marks or annotations, two blank leaves and the loose leaf with poems and comments in manuscript ink.

Request More Information/Shipping Quote

    do you have a question about this item?

    If you would like more information on this item, or if you have a similar item you would like to know more about, please contact us via the short form here.