Item #8148 An Account of Russia as it was in the Year 1710. Charles Lord Whitworth.
An Account of Russia as it was in the Year 1710
An Account of Russia as it was in the Year 1710
An Account of Russia as it was in the Year 1710

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An Account of Russia as it was in the Year 1710

Printed at Strawberry-Hill, [England], 1758. Hardcover. 12mo (7.25” x 4.5”), later full English calf by Arno Werner with gilt-stamped title on spine. Title page with engraved view of Horace Walpole’s Gothic revival home. xxiv, 158 pp. Two bookplates of Wyman Parker on front paste-down. Pencil collector’s notes on rear endpapers. CONDITION: Very good, slightly worn.

5th book of Strawberry Hill. 2nd year of press. 1 of 700 copies, edited by Horace Walpole.

According to Walpole’s introductory advertisement, “Lord Whitworth’s little treatise will throw considerable lights upon the formation of the Muscovite power, and upon the plans of the extraordinary genius, Peter the Great." Whitworth’s “An Account of Russia as it was in the Year 1710, though not published until 1758, was soon available in manuscript to the ministry at home [in England]. Succinct and perceptive, it was a survey of Petrine Russia which held its readership through to the century’s end and beyond” (Whitworth, DoNB). Noted among the early reprints of the Strawberry Hill Press (Britannica).

Charles, Baron of Whitworth (1675-1725), English diplomatist and ambassador to Russia, was in “September 1704…appointed envoy-extraordinary to Russia, where, so Tsar Peter I commented to Whitworth in May 1705, ‘for some considerable time no Englishman had appeared with a public character’… His initial commission was to attempt regularization in Anglo-Russian commercial relations by remedying the Russia Company’s mismanagement of its award (1698) of the tobacco monopoly in Russia…that the tobacco monopoly business was resolved between 1707 and 1711 owned much to his assiduity and resource…His friendships suggest an engaging and sagacious man, but Whitworth was firstly a most accomplished diplomat and an unsurpassed interpreter of the Russia of his day” (Whitworth, DoNB). Walpole offers a recollection indicating Whitworth’s closeness to the Russian court: “Lord Whitworth had had a personal intimacy with the famous Czarina Catherine [the future Catherine the Great], at a time when her favours were not purchased nor rewarded at so extravagant a rate as that of a diadem. When he had compromized the rupture between the court of England and the Czar, he was invited to a ball at court, and taken out to dance by the Czarina. As they began the minuet, she squeezed him by the hand and said in a whisper, Have you forgotten little Kate?"

Bound by Arno Werner February 27, 1962. Includes a signed letter in Werner’s hand to librarian and collector Wyman Parker, along with a receipt for $10.50. Letter dated March 10, 1962, reading “Dear Mr. Parker: The leather is ‘English Calf’ Mrs. Wm. A. Jackson {Houghton Library– Harvard U.) got it for me from J. Hewit & sons, Edinburgh, Scotland. There are all colors from very light to black, it is the best calf obtainable today. Unfortunately, it is veined only in spots (weave & butt) but I loved it and could not resist using it on your Strawberrry Hill. I would like to see you here together with Mrs. Ehlers to go over the latest order. I have my doubts about classification numbers on the spine, something I have never done & isn’t done any more on rare books or otherwise. With the weather getting better, I believe you would welcome a day off & I deserve & look forward to see some real people in my shop. Best wishes, Arno Werner.” Receipt reads “Mr. Wyman W. Parker. Olin Library Wesleyan University Middletown, Conn. Feb. 27.62 1 Russia Strawberrry Hill 1758. Thank you $10.50.” In addition, an early pencil inscription in the book reads “Bought by Lord G[?] sale 1/5/84. Printed by Horace Walpole at his private press on Strawberry Hill.” Wyman Parker was a librarian at Wesleyan University, librarian at the Bread Loaf School of English, and a collector of fine press books.

REFERENCES: Aldridge, “Whitworth, Charles, Baron Whitworth (bap. 1675, d. 1725)” at Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). “Walpole Horatio” at Encyclopedia Britannica. 

Item #8148

Price: $400.00

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