In signed full contemporary red morocco

ATKINSON, John Augustus (artist)

A Picturesque Representation of the Manners, Customs, and Amusements of the Russians

Publication: London, Bulmer, 1804.

ATKINSON, John Augustus (artist), A Picturesque Representation of the Manners, Customs, and Amusements of the Russians

One of the most beautiful and impressive British works on Russia, with many great plates in fine colouring. Here unusually bound in a luxury full red morocco gilt signed.

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Our Notes & References

An attractive example of this impressive and celebrated colour-plate book, possibly the most extensive visual record of Russians at the turn of the 19th century. Many subjects are here dealt with for the first, and often only, time in a European publication. This is the first edition; a second one was published shortly after, also printed by Bulmer but for Carpenter and Booker.

“These plates […] show the spontaneity and spirit possible when the artist is his own engraver. […] The colouring is skilfully done, in soft washes’ (Abbey).

This is the second of Atkinson’s works to be published after his return from St. Petersburg (after his panorama of this city). He accompanied his uncle James Walker there when the latter had been appointed engraver to the Empress Catherine and had returned in 1801 after 18 years spent in Russia. Walker here wrote the explanatory text only, all plates being designed by Atkinson. Dedicated to Alexander I, whose portrait is in frontispiece.


Abbey 223 (bound in calf only); Cat. Russica A-1053; Colas 171; Lipperheide 1343.

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Physical Description

Three parts in one folio (45 x 31.5 cm). Half-titles, engraved frontispiece, 100 hand-coloured aquatint plates after Atkinson, text in English and French.


Contemporary full red straight-grained morocco by Staggemeier & Welcher with their ticket to front pastedown, boards with gilt rollworks, spine with raised bands and wide gilt fillets, direct gilt lettering to second compartment, all edges gilt.


Spine a bit dulled, light rubbing; minor toning on first few leaves, occasional light offsetting, some spotting in volume II (plates 54-56); overall a very appealing copy.

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