Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2020 Issue

The Russian Military from Shapero Rare Books

Russian Military.

Shapero Rare Books has published a catalogue of material relating to the Russian Military. This catalogue contains books and maps pertaining to its subject matter, with outstanding illustrations being a second common thread. The Russians have been engaged in many wars, won some, lost some, but one thing we can say is they always had exquisite uniforms. They would have always won the contest for finest uniforms. Here are a few selections from this new catalogue.

 

We begin with Brief Remarks on the Character and Composition of the Russian Army, and a Sketch of the Campaign in Poland in 1806 and 1807. It was written by British army officer and diplomat Sir Robert Wilson and published in 1810. This was the period of the Napoleonic Wars, a time when various coalitions formed against Napoleon's France. To Britain, it was all one big war. While her coalition partners changed along the way, Britain was a constant against France. The war in Poland was against the Fourth Coalition, with Russia, Prussia, Saxony, and Sweden joining Britain in the fight against France. Wilson was in Poland and at Eylau for that battle. By the end of it all, Russia sued for peace and dropped its ties to Britain, while most of western Europe fell under Napoleon's control. Napoleon was reaching toward the high point of his empire. That would come against the Fifth Coalition, followed by Napoleon's defeat by the Sixth. Item 5. Priced at £600 (British pounds, or approximately $775 in U.S. dollars).

 

Next we see the Napoleonic Wars from the point of view of someone who traveled with the French. It also comes from the other end of those wars, when everything turned on Napoleon. Albrecht Adam was a Prussian who was the official artist of the Grand Armée during its assault on Moscow in 1812. Item 10 is 24 croquis pittoresques dessinés après nature dans la Russie en 1812 [bound with] 28 Plates from Voyage pittoresque et militaire de Villenberg en Prusse jusqu’à Moscou, published 1820-1833. The title translates to picturesque sketches drawn from nature in Russia, and there are such landscape drawings here, but others pertain to the war, which is hard to think of as “picturesque.” Adam was there for the Battle of Borodino, with more casualties than any other battle in that war, or any other war until World War I. After a long bloody battle, Napoleon finally achieved a “victory,” but only at an enormous cost to his forces. Meanwhile, the Russian army was able to escape. Napoleon went on to Moscow and occupied it, but the Russian army remained on the outskirts, and as winter set in, French supplies dwindled. They were forced into a brutal retreat through the winter while the Russians sniped at them, decimating their army. Adam returned to Munich before the massive retreat, escaping the worst part of the defeat. £15,000 (US $19,387).

 

Here is another war that makes you wonder, was this really necessary? This is from the Crimean War, and this time, it was Russia that was alone, France allied with Britain and the Ottoman Empire in opposing them. It had to do with religious liberties and boundary lines of the declining Ottoman Empire. The defining event was the Siege of Sebastopol. Sebastopol was home to the Russian fleet on the Black Sea, making it a threat to the Mediterranean. The siege began in October of 1854 and continued for 11 months before the allies finally drove the Russians out. The war ended soon thereafter. The Russians were not allowed to house a fleet there as terms of the peace, but otherwise, everything essentially returned to where it was before, except for those who died or were permanently injured as a result of the years of fighting. Item 26 is A voice from within the walls of Sebastopol: A Narrative of the campaign in the Crimea, and of the events of the siege, by Capt. R. Hodasevich. Hodasevich was a Polish man forced by the Russians into their army. He switched sides and provided valuable information to the allies. £950 (US $1,228).

 

This is a unique, manuscript album created by the Russian Artillery and Engineering Gentry Corps in 1800. It carries the bookplate of Tsar Alexander II, though Shapero believes it was more likely given to Tsar Paul I who was succeeded by Alexander the following year. The Russian title translates to A book containing drawings of the currently used artillery guns with their accessories. The album consists of 95 watercolor drawings of artillery created and signed by the cadets. Each drawing is signed by a different cadet. Shapero has located only one other similar manuscript book, one created a year later with 124 drawings housed in the National Library of Russia. Item 4. £250,000 (US $323,381).

 

Item 48, translated from the Russian, is The Tragedy of Admiral Kolchak. Alexander Kolchak was a Russian naval officer in the First World War who became acquainted with various western allied commanders. When he returned to Russia during the Revolution, he was asked by the White Russian leaders in Siberia to take command of the country. That he did, and received much support from his ally friends. However, that made many Russians suspicious. His conservative views lost the support of non-Bolshevik socialists. Most of the area he commanded fell to the Red Army, Kolchak was captured and executed. The author of this book, Sergei Melgunov, was a Russian historian and opponent of the Soviet government. The account was published in 1930. £250 (US $323).

 

Shapero Rare Books may be reached at +44 (0)20 7493 0876 or rarebooks@shapero.com. Their website is www.shapero.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000
  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions