Rare illustrations of Ukrainian textile - from an art historian's family


Ukrainskoe narodnoe tvorchestvo

[Ukrainian Folk Art]

Publication: Suvorin - Novoe Vremia, Skt. Peterburg. for Kustarn. sklad poltavsk. gub. zemstva, Poltava, 1912-13.

[UKRAINE – TEXTILE], Ukrainskoe narodnoe tvorchestvo

An excellent set of this series on the Ukrainian art of lace and textile decoration, richly illustrated. Very rare, on the market like in libraries. With fine literary and artistic provenance.

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Our Notes & References

A very rare, richly illustrated celebration of “zhenskoe rukodelie” [women’s needlework], “one of the most important and widespread forms of Ukrainian folk art” (introduction to this edition, our translation here and below).

With fine literary and artistic provenance: from the Muratov family, in particular Evgeniia Muratova, née Paganuzzi (1885-1981), the first wife of the distinguished art historian Pavel Muratov (also Paul Muratoff, 1881-1950). Evgeniia Paganuzzi was a dancer-follower of Isadora Duncan and a muse of the poet Vladislav Khodasevich. During Soviet times, “the prototype of Akhmatova’s ‘Poem without a Hero'” (Andreeva), Muratova served in the People’s Commissariat of the RSFSR and then at the “Pereval” publishing house. Pasternak mentions Muratova in his 1931 autobiographical novella ‘Okhrannaia Gramota’ [Safe Conduct].

In 1918-22, Muratov worked in the Department of Museum Affairs and Protection of Monuments of Art and Antiquities of the People’s Commissariat, participated in the restoration of churches in Moscow and Novgorod, before leaving Russia in 1922.

The Poltava Local Government (Poltavskoe gubernskoe zemstvo) supported the publication of a series of “albums of the most original Ukrainian ornaments from the best examples kept in local, other provincial and capital museums, and from several particularly successful modern artisanal works […] in order to support numerous artisans in the province, to promote the development of their taste and provide them with samples worthy of imitation, and at the same time to preserve beautiful examples of old Ukrainian folk art in peoples’ memory” (preface).

A total of seven series were announced, covering weaving, carpet manufacturing, woodwork, blacksmithing, locksmithing, and pottery. However, the last series, focusing on basket weaving, does not appear to have been published, and we couldn’t trace half of these series in any library or at auctions.

These three volumes are the third series, complete in itself, detailing “Rukodelnyia raboty” [Handcrafted Works]: they focus on various examples of towels and napkins used for practical purposes (personal or dish towels), as interior decorations, or as ritual objects. The three parts are:

– Vypusk I. Ruchniki, shitye tsvetnoi bumagoi [Issue 1. Rushnyks [or towels] sewn with coloured paper]

– Vypusk II. Ruchniki vyshityia tsvetnymi nitkami [Issue 2. Rushnyks [or towels] embroidered with coloured threads]

– Vypusk III. Khustochki, shityia tsvetnoi bumagoi [Issue III. Handkerchiefs [or napkins] sewn with coloured paper].

Beside numerous attractive, detailed plates, each issue includes an image of the Poltava Local Government House from different angles.

Very rare complete: OCLC does not seem to show any complete set of any series, and we couldn’t trace any copy of any series at auction in or outside Russia.


Evgeniia Muratova (ownership inscription on title and upper wrappers); by descent to Kseniia Muratova, Pavel Muratov’s grand-niece, France; acquired from her estate. 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.


Andreeva, Inna, Neulovimoe sozdanie. Vstrechi, vospominaniia, pisma, Sovpadenie, Moskva, 2000.

Item number



Physical Description

Three volumes oblong 4to (23 x 32 cm). Each volume: 28 pp. including title, ad leaf and 20 full-page illustrations – in all 60 pp. of full-page illustrations.


Original publisher’s grey decorated printed wrappers with photographic illustrations to inside wrappers.


Minimal rubbing, discolouration or bumping, a couple of leaves creased – in general in fine, attractive condition.

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