This item has sold. We are always interested in acquiring another copy or any item of comparable quality.


The first Russian celestial atlas: our copy printed in gold on a blue background

Reissig, Kornelius Khristianovich. Sozviezdiia predstavlennyia na XXX tablitsakh. [Presentation of constellations in 30 tables].

St Petersburg, tipografiia Kh. Gintsa, 1829.

Oblong folio (318 x 419 mm). Engraved title and 2 sectional titles, all printed in gold, 30 engraved plates printed in gold (29 of which are printed on a rich Prussian blue background). Plates contemporarily mounted on white paper; holes punched out for stars of the first four magnitudes (with India paper pasted onto verso covering the punched holes); final plate printed in gold on white paper. Contemp. plain wrappers. Stored in custom-made marbled blue half calf portfolio.

First edition of Reissig's spectacularly beautiful celestial atlas, the earliest Russian star atlas ever. The present copy is the only one recorded printed in gold, apparently a hitherto unknown deluxe edition issued without the 40 pages of descriptive text, not called for in our copy's title page and added only later to the normal black and white edition (we are grateful to Mr Nick Kanas for his research; his e-mail of 4 Feb. 2011). The punched-out holes which permit the stars to shine when held the plate is up the light are not a feature of the normal issue, either.

Kornelius Reissig (1781-1860) was an Associate Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and director of the military academy of St Petersburg. He published a variety of works on mechanics, statics, and barometrics, as well as a manual on painting.

Rare even in the standard edition: no copy of this work recorded in NUC, while OCLC references two copies in the U.S. (at Pennsylvania State University and the Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering and Technology; both standard copies in black and white; the latter fully digitized and available online).

Minimal wear and spotting to margins of plates, otherwise perfectly preserved in the contemporary unsophisticated wrappers. From the collection of the New York banker Gerald F. Fitzgerald (1925-2010) with his bookplate.

N. Kanas, Star maps: history, artistry, and cartography. New York, 2007, p. 177 and fig. 6.11 (standard black and white issue). Lavrov, Bibliografiya Russkoi astronomicheskoi literatur, Moscow, 1968, p. 42f. Not in Warner, Sky explored. Not in NUC.