PALLAS, Peter Simon (1741-1811). Travels through the Southern Provinces of Russian Empire, in the Years 1793, and 1794. Translated from the German of P.S. Pallas, counsellor of State to His Imperial Majesty of All the Russias, Knight, &c. Second Edition. London: John Stockdale, 1812.
2 volumes. 4to., (11 4/8 x 9 2/8 inches). Half-title in volume II (2 pages with short marginal repaired tears). 4 fine folding engraved maps: "A special Map of the Isle of Taman", "Map of the Steppe between the Lower Volga and the Don; where the Caspian Sea was formerly united with that of the Azof", "Map of the Country between the Black and the Caspian Seas", and a map of the Black and Azof seas. 2 aquatint frontispieces with original hand-colour in full, and a further 19 full-page coloured plates, 2 uncoloured plates, 20 folding aquatint panoramas with original hand-colour, 5 uncoloured panoramas, 23 aquatint vignettes with original hand-colour and 6 uncoloured vignettes (without plate 23 in volume I). 20th-century half mottled calf, marbled paper boards, antique, the spine in six compartments with five raised bands, red and green morocco lettering-pieces in two, the others decorated with small gilt tools.
Provenance: with the modern armorial bookplate of C. Robert Bignold on the front paste-down of each volume; his sale, Sotheby's, 15th November, 1971, lot 269.
Second edition in English, first published as "Reise durch verschiedene Provinzen des Russischen Reichs in einem ausfuhrlichen Auszuge" in three volumes in 1778. A botanist and zoologist, Pallas traveled from St. Petersburg eastwards, along the Volga, to Astrakhan, the Caspian Sea, thence to the Caucasus Mountains, the Crimea, and back to St. Petersburg. This was his second expedition to southern Russia, after having settled with his family in St. Petersburg under the patronage of Catherine the Great in 1767. Travelling with his daughter, young second wife and a retinue of servants, Pallas covers the ethnology, costumes, flora, fauna, geology, topography and commerce of the southern provinces of Russia. Towards the end of his first expedition Pallas recovered a rock sample later determined to be a new kind of meteorite and named after him, Pallasite. Tooley called the work "an extremely charming colour plate book ... It deserves a place in every colour plate collection for its numerous attractive coloured vignettes, an unusual feature." Abbey Travel 222; Tooley 357. Catalogued by Kate Hunter.