Our Notes & References
Fine artistic record of Turkish and Caucasian types, among other sketches reproduced, including portraits of Russian aristocrats in the Caucasus, Gypsies in Moscow and views of Egypt and Greece.
A beautiful, large format production of one of the best Russian presses of the time, the State Press. It had produced, a few years earlier, a thicker but similar work, using the same format and presentation on the same mounts within a folder. There were also sketches of the Caucasus and its people, drawn by the artist Th. Horschelt, also presented in French and Russian: Кавказкие походные рисунки. Etudes militaires faites au Caucase.
Prince Grigorii Grigorievich Gagarin (1810-93) was born to the princely Rurikid Gagarin family. He first lived with his parents in Rome, where his father Prince Grigorii Ivanovich was a Russian ambassador and, after showing promise in art, took private lessons from the major Russian painter Karl Briullov and the French battle painter and Orientalist Horace Vernet. In 1832 Gagarin returned to his native St Petersburg, where his artistic abilities were admired by the Russian literati. He illustrated Pushkin’s works ‘Ruslan and Liudmila’, ‘The Queen of Spades’, ‘The Tale of Tsar Saltan’, among others (see Naidich). He also became close to the opposition ‘Circle of Sixteen’ and the poet Mikhail Lermontov. In 1840, he followed the exiled Lermontov to the Caucasus in the Tengin Regiment, active in the Caucasian War. They took part in the operations against the Gortsy, the native people inhabiting the mountains of the Caucasus, and Gagarin remained in the army after Lermontov’s death in a duel in 1841. He participated in the General Chernyshov expedition to Daghestan and finally settled in Tiflis, Georgia, serving in 1848-55 under Prince Vorontsov. Throughout his travels and sojourns in the Caucasus, the sensibility, intelligence and skills of the Prince allowed him to develop an intimate knowledge of the landscapes, buildings and numerous ethnic groups of the region. This produced a rich, skilful visual record, which he published in various works, most notably two impressive folios: Le Caucase pittoresque and Costumes du Caucase.
These Dessins et croquis, a posthumous publication, was to be his last portfolio. Since then, his works have been celebrated in a number of galleries and exhibitions, including one organised by the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg to celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth in 2010.
D.M. Ostafev (Dmitrii Modestovich Ostafev, 1862-1916, acting State Counsellor, chamberlain, official of the Department of Spiritual Affairs of Foreign Religions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, writer and bibliophile; bookplate to upper pastedown]; V.I. Klochkov – Libraire W. Klotschkoff (Petrograd, Liteiny 55; bookshop label to lower pastedown).
Kornilova A. Grigorii Gagarin. Moscow: Belyi gorod, 2004; Savinov A. G.Gagarin. Moscow: The Tretyakov Gallery, 1950; Naidich, E. ‘Pushkin i khudozhnik G.G. Gagarin’.