Our Notes & References
An exquisite manuscript in a delicately ornate contemporary binding, listing the main dates of the Russian history, starting from the year 839, the first mentioning of Russia, and finishing with the treaty of 1784 of the Russian Empire with the Ottoman Porte, validating the Russian cession of Crimea and the Kuban region. Spanning these 10 centuries, the landmark dates mostly cover military events, territorial conquests and lives of the Russian rulers, but also include religious, cultural and political themes, such as the 1649 publication of the famous Ulozhenie, Russia’s first comprehensive code of laws, the foundation of St. Petersburg in 1703 and of its University and Academy in 1724. Some unusual and not-very-well known dates are also included, such as the year 1684 marking a “guerre entre les Russes et les Chinois”, perhaps implying the Sino-Russian border conflict in 1652-1689 and culminating with the siege of fort Albazin on the Amur river in 1686 after which Russia gave up the disputed land to China.
The first leaf has an inscription in ink, indicating that these tables with historic dates were written by some Barriéra, a tutor of Nicholas I, originally from the French city of Poitiers.
Manuscript note on the first blanc leaf, indicating that this manuscript was written by ?Barriéra; From the estate of Geoffrey Elliott (1939-2021), banker of Russian descent, author of books on 20th-c. history. Acquired from Rodolphe Chamonal. Geoffrey and his wife Fay were noted collectors, especially of Oscar Wilde, Evelyn Waugh and other literary figures. Russia, and Wars were also important themes: Geoffrey’s grandparents were interned in a Siberian tsarist prison camp before the October Revolution, and he focused most of his published works on the Cold War.
The Elliotts donated a significant part of their collection to the library of Leeds University in 2002, but kept the Russia-related items and continued to acquire a few works too, which we subsequently acquired.