Memorial  of  a  Genius


Alexander Wilbrecht, Karta Okrujnosti St. Peterburga

Alexander  Wilbrecht’s  Reverence

St. Petersburg – Вилбрехт, Александр (1757 Санкт-Петербург 1823). Καρτα Οκρυжности Єτ. Πετερбүрга. / Wilbrecht, Alexander (1757 Petersburg 1823). Karta Okrujnosti St. Peterburga. With miles indicator and, set into a shore landscape, title-cartouche with the double eagle, one of which holding an olive branch in its beak, the other crowned with a olive wreath, while between the heads the czar’s crown floats. Environs map of Petersburg c. 1 : 190,000 engraved by G. Kharitonov (cartouche) + Alexei Savinkov on white leather. (Saint Petersburg, The Geographic Dpt. of the Cabinet of Her Imperial Majesty, the Mining Academy’s School of Engineering, 1796/1800 [?].) Inscribed: Соч Ал. Вилъбрехт (followed by ?) / Гравировали Г. Карitоnоев и Ал. Савинкоев (Composed by Al. Wilbrecht / Engraved by G. Kharitonov + Al. Savinkov). 18⅜ × 22⅝ in (46.6 × 57.5 cm).

Rarissimum  of  Russian  cartography

Alexander Wilbrecht, Karta Okrujnosti St. Peterburga (detail)
Alexander Wilbrecht, Karta Okrujnosti St. Peterburga (detail)

Wilbrecht’s  maps  are  already  generally

of  paramount  rarity .

Imperial geographer, head of the above Geographic Department and master at the Mining Academy’s School of Engineering, cartographer, mathematician, and astronomer, his name is quoted also in connection with general atlases, as for instance the Russian New Atlas or collection of maps of all parts of the globe, Petersburg 1793 (Phillips 679), but still up to the 1960s his name was missing in cartographic standard indices and also Tooley’s Dictionary (1979) results in no more than the simple mention of the 1792 French version of the

present  one  worked  as  separate  map ,

the 1787 one of Cook’s Pacific discoveries, and the 1792 original edition of the Rossiiskoi atlas reflecting the administrative reforms of 1775, a second edition of which was published 1800. In respect of Petersburg both editions contain correspondingly only the map of its province (1 : 760,000), not the one of the closer environs worked contemporarily in a far larger scale of 1 : 190,000.

Atlas and map of the Pacific then also established in the noble lists “Notable Acquisitions” and “Unusual Items” edited by the British Library as the largest map collection worldwide for the annual volumes of IMAGO MUNDI, yet as stated

no  copy  of  his  map  of  Petersburg  and  environs

which is worked particularly instructively and presents besides rivers and the

network  of  highways  specified  by  name

in its main arteries including the one to Moscow, a downright incredible plenty of details of the inner-city conditions about the mid-1790s (?). Among the dams and canals worth mentioning in particular

Alexander Wilbrecht, Karta Okrujnosti St. Peterburga (detail of Ladoga Canal)

Ladoga  Canal

as the most important one of the region,

which  had  been  begun  under  Peter  the  Great  in  1719

and was finished in 1732 by Burchard Christoph von Münnich (1683-1767), the famous German general and hydraulic engineer living in Russia since 1721.

complete description per 15,727 on request


Incunables – St. Petersburg – Gorfunkel, A. X. (Catalogue of the Incunables of the Leningrad University.) 84 items. Leningrad 1967. Sm. 4to. 43 pp., 1 l. With 19 full-page ills. on plts. Orig. cloth.

In Russian, but short titles, concordance, indices, and bibliography in Latin characters. – Title in blue and black.

Offer no. 11,563 / EUR  33. (c. US$ 40.) + shipping

Worked and published in Petersburg

by  the  Imperial  Academy  of  Sciences

founded  by  Peter  in  1725

Atlas Russicus


a  MILESTONE  274  Years  Ago

De L’Isle – Atlas Rvssicvs … Vastissimvm Imperivm Rvssicvm cum adiacentibvs Regionibvs. Under the supervision of Leonhard Euler and Gottfried Heinsius ed. by the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Petersburg. Petersburg, the author, 1745. Large folio. 16 pp. With

Atlas Russicus, General Map

20  ( 1 folded several times )  double  full-page  coloured  engraved maps

(c. 19¼-19¾ × 22 and 22¼ × 38⅝ in [49-50 × 56 and 56.5 × 98 cm] resp.) after Joseph Nicolas De L’Isle (1688 Paris 1768) and others. Marbled contemp. h. calf with back-plate, leather edges, and marbled boards. Paled marbled edges.


Phillips 4060 (together with additional war maps); Nitsche-Stender 141; Lexikon der Kartographie 688; Goldenberg + Postnikov, Development of Mapping Methods in Russia in the 18th century, in IMAGO MUNDI XXXVII, 63-80; Teleki, Atlas zur Geschichte der Kartographie der japanischen Inseln pl. 17,1 (pl. 19 of the atlas); Niemeyer, Rußlands Aufbruch in die Moderne – Peter der Große und die Entwicklung der russischen Kartographie, Bonn 1991, 5 + illustrations.


Schätze aus dem Kreml – Peter der Große in Westeuropa.) Bremen, Übersee-Museum, 1991 (18 weeks incl. extension). – Catalogue no. 158 (uncoloured copy).

FIRST  ISSUE  OF  THE  FIRST  EDITION . – Title + text – description of the maps regarding bordering, origin, accuracy and execution of surveying, transcription of the Russian alphabet; partly detailed Russian explanations of words; rich signs and symbols up to salterns + hot springs, this by the way engraved – in Latin + French (a Russian + German-language version still of the same year with fewer text preliminaries = Phillips 4059 and 3109 resp. each with erroneous comment to map 19 “showing the extreme point of Alaska and the Aleutian islands”, recte on the contrary Kamchatka + Kurile Islands). – The colours of deep quality.

As  the  first  complete  atlas  of  Russia

the  decisive  milestone  on  the  way  to  modern  Russia .

Sought was an utterly new map survey subject to astronomically set fixed-points. At the head of the western astronomers and geographers called to Russia was J. N. Delisle who worked there from 1725-47 and whose astronomical school founded at the Academy produced several Russian astronomers of high repute while his works for the atlas of 1745 – preceded by Ivan Kirilov’s less decisive one of 1734 – suffered by friction. And “against the ban he copied all Russian maps and sent them secretly to Paris where they now form ( – but without the General Map – ) a valuable collection” (Bagrow-Skelton). He was simply reputed as “the French expert of Russia” (Galkovich). But he also was reproached for working too slow. A lack of currentness caused by this and poor accuracy were the reasons for him why he did not like to see his name being related to the atlas. Just as M. V. Lomonosov criticized .

Assigned to Delisle as assistant was  Gottfried  Heinsius  (Naumburg/Saale 1709 – Leipsic 1769), 1736 called to Petersburg as associate professor of astronomy and member of the Academy, who still in the year of publication followed a nomination to Leipsic. See Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie XI, 656.

The detail maps 1-13 (1 : 1,527,000) covering the European part of Russia constructed markedly larger as against the 6 ones of the Asian part (1 : 3,360,000) – east of rivers Irtysh/Ob, but still up to the Pechora delta – and besides adorned with mostly richly figurative-instructive title-cartouches. The Asian maps furnished with just a title ribbon. Whether this has to be attributed to the economical importance and the degree of acquaintance then or expression of the request for a more precipitate completion of the works as criticized as inappropriate by Delisle may be left undecided here.

Atlas Russicus, Volga-Don Canal

Of  special  historic  interest  the  entrance  of  the  Volga-Don  Canal

plotted on the Volga district map. First the version as outlined in 1697 during a conversation between Leibniz and the Russian ambassador Golovin.

Of further extraordinary interest for the development of cartography

the  supposedly  first  representation  of  the  Kurile Islands

as  a  chain  of  named  islands  in  uninterrupted  sequence

stretching between northern Japan – the northern tips of which at the map’s lower edge – and Kamchatka. The disputed islands in the south of the chain correctly set off a little and situated closer to Japan. Thus without the obscure Staaten Island, Terre de la Compagnie and Terre de Jean da Gama still found in the maps by Kirilov and Haas, but also other, partly substantially later maps, practically making up the entire southern half of the chain of islands and besides by their placement, especially in the earlier maps, rather suggesting a yet also still largely unknown Aleutian Range come too far south. Besides “for instance not all results of the ‘Great Northern Expedition’ (1733-1742/3) were evaluated in it” (Bagrow-Skelton, Meister der Kartographie [1963], page 251).

For  the  cartographical  rank  of  the  atlas 

see Goldenberg-Postnikov’s résumé :

“ Atlases, maps and large scale plans become the principal basis for the development of topographic maps. They remain as remarkable monuments of the history of Russian cartography created by the toilers of field cartography … From the point of view of studying the maps of Russia of the 18th century as historico-geographical sources, the cartographic materials of general land survey are undoubtedly the most abundant and valuable sources in spite of their relative imperfections. ”

The  area  comprised

in accordance with the borders in the reign of Elizaveta Petrovna, daughter of Peter (1709-62, czarina since 1741). In the east up to Bering Strait, with the Kurile Islands and northern Japan , in the SE the complete River Amur district later acquired by Alexander II (czar since 1855) down to today’s Vladivostok. Apart from that in the south up to the headwaters of Kerulen, Selenga & Irtysh – Caspian southern shore – River Arax , then crossing the Black Sea on about the line Trabzon – Constanca , westerly up to Kiev – Memel – Helsinki with parts of Finland – Norwegian border area . In the north up to about 85° northern latitude .

complete description per 16,233 on request


Russian Empire in Europe, The. / NW Sheet. Map by Frdr. Wilhelm Streit (Ronneburg, Thuringia, 1772 – Berlin 1839). Steel engraving colored in outline. (1836.) 11⅛ × 9 in (28.4 × 22.8 cm).

The first sheet with the title of Streit’s 4-sheet map of Russia. – The coast from Stettin. – With the Baltic Provinces + Finland , still with Gothenburg . Shown finely St. Petersburg along with the Ladoga Canal. – With the postal routes.

Offer no. 7,442 / EUR  76. (c. US$ 92.) + shipping

Presented  before  the  Silhouette  of  Petersburg

Treskot-Schmidt, 3rd Russian General Map


as  close  of  an  only  60-year  epoch

of  gigantically  cartographic  developments

Treskot (Trescotti, Tresskott, Trouskot, Truscott), Ivan Fomic (1721-1786) + Jakob F. Schmidt. Tabula Geographica Generalis Imperii Russici ad normam novis simarum observationum astronomicarum concinnata a Ioh. Trescotio et Iac. Schmidio. With

large  title-cartouche  with  Catherine II ,

gliding  on  clouds ,

together  with  quadrant  and  globe

and  a  putti  measuring  the  spread  of  the  empire ;

a second large cartouche, flown over by the Russian eagle with laurel-wreath, sceptre and trumpet, with Mercury and Athena

with  a  map  of  the  empire  in  front  of  the  silhouette  of  Petersburg

and with a three-master, surrounded with medley war material; and with a landscape-cartouche with rocky steppe, obelisk and double miles indicator. Coloured Russia map 1 : 7.5 million printed from 3 plts. Augsburg, Tobias Conrad Lotter (1717-1777), 1784. 25¼ × 55⅛ in (64.3 × 140 cm).


Harms, Cat. van de Kaartencollectie Moll, 19; Lexikon zur Geschichte der Kartographie, Vienna 1986, 688 f.; Bagrow, A few remarks on maps of the Amur, the Tartar Strait and Sakhalin, in IMAGO MUNDI XII, 127-136.

List of Unusual Items that have come up for Sale – compiled by the British Library – in IMAGO MUNDI XLIIII, 140/1 (a former copy traded here into an important German public collection after it had vagabondized on three places of the German market in the ’70s).

Unknown to Grenacher, Guide to the cartographic history of the imperial city of Augsburg, in I.M. XXII, 85 ff., and Phillips, Atlases + Maps of America. – In the British Library only the original edition ed. by the Imperial Academy of Sciences at Petersburg in 1776. Lotter’s map of Russia of 1788, mentioned not as being printed from more than one plate, in Tooley’s Dictionary probably a new edition of the one listed by Grenacher as published in 1770 (Phillips 3513, 26 as ca. 1772).

Extraordinarily  rare

Ivan Fomic Treskot, General Map of Russia

third  own  general  map  of  Russia

on whose two authors is known next to nothing despite of some maps – besides the present general several regional maps – composed together.

“ Based on the county maps of the surveyers and other material (originating especially from expeditions and legations) submitted to the senate, the highest administrative body of the empire, several general maps of the Russian state were produced subsequently, which in their turn served as sources for maps of Russia drawn in other European countries: as first in 1734 the Imperii Russici Tabula Generalis … (c. 1 : 11.7 mill.) by I. Kirilov; followed in 1745 by the Mappa Generalis Totius Imperii Russici (c. 1 : 8.9 mill.) in the Atlas Russicus …, 1776 the ‘Tabula Geographica Generalis Imperii Russici’ (c. 1 : 7.5 mill.) by I. F. Truscot(t) (Trescot) u. J. F. Schmidt … ”

(Lexikon zur Geschichte der Kartographie).

Remarkable, too, the increasingly larger scale of these maps as outer sign of the growing completion of land surveying with the advance of the 18th century. And the present one together also

in  regard  of  the  size  by  far  the  most  imperial .

The rich cartouche decoration – left black and white like in many old coloured map works and also known from the Atlas of the Great Elector – completely in the sign of the policy persued by Catherine the Great (Stettin 1729 – 1796, daughter of Christian August of Anhalt-Zerbst and since 1762 czarina of the house Holstein-Gottorp) in the tradition of Peter the Great.

In  regard  of  the  development  of  Russian  cartography

several  details  seem  to  be  of  special  interest .

So the complete ignoring of the Volga-Don Canal in all versions and variants of representation still omnipresent in the first half of the 18th century. Here, not least after a futile attempt already under Peter’s Ägide, the interest had, as obviously impracticable, ceased.

Greatest  attention , however , deserve

the Asian northeastern coast and the Kurile Islands. Compared with the preceding maps by Kirilov and the Atlas Russicus only Sakhalin and the coast running to the south appear in the known form unchanged since Kirilov’s map of 1734.

But only somewhat more northerly the changes start with the Szantar Islands, hitherto drawn too large, now appearing in correct size in the bay of the Sea of Ochotsk also now extending sharply to the west. Kamchatka iss significantly stretched and thus almost adjusted to its true shape, the Kurile Islands here supposedly marked for the first time with this name as an archipelago, otherwise though – also in regard of the disputed group situated nearer to Japan – corresponding to the general map of the Atlas Russicus and the respective atlas maps. Only the farthest northern tip of Japan here not in the map image anymore. Terre de la Compagnie and da Gama Land found in the Kirilov and Haas maps of 1734 and 1739/43 resp., but also still in Lattré’s map of Asia of about 1770 here left supposedly finally to the memory of the great time of sometimes only vague discoveries and dissolved into a representation corresponding with nature.

Eye-catching  as  cartographic  progress

the severe truncation of the Chukotsk Peninsula leading to the northwest compared with the previous maps still showing Cape Szalaginskoi (Cape Shelagskiy), the northern peninsula, as reaching sharply to the northeast. Although the coast is still drawn too irregular the representation resembles today’s image.

In deviation to both Kirilov’s map as, too, the detail map no. 18 of the Atlas Russicus the equally named islands north off Cape Szalaginskoi missing. This analogously to the general map of the atlas probably drawn too hastily and although the position of the islands was already clarified by Homann’s guiding map of 1725. Also still incorrect as by far both too small and too close to the Asian continent St. Lawrence Island (“I. St. Laurentii”), discovered 1728 by Vitus Bering (1680/81-1741) during the first Kamchatka expedition and today belonging to America. Likewise Diomede Island (“St. Diomedis”) is recorded as part of an extended archipelago of smaller islands just off the mainland. Just as the showing of two “I. St. Andrae” in this area suggests some uncertainties in the reports.

Now correct, however, the representation of the Bear Islands situated before the mouth of River Kolyma, here for the first time as group of small islands and with this designation. Entered already in the Kirilov map – as, too, in Broedelet’s 1743 edition of the Haas map of 1739 – as one large island while still missing in all other maps.

Of  highest  importance

the inclusion of the southern bow of the Aleutian Islands from the Commander Islands with Bering Island before Kamchatka up to the main group on the eastern side of the exit of the Bering Sea and, since going beyond Unalaska, practically reaching just before the southern tip of Alaska Peninsula.

However, the western Aleutian Islands situated visibly too far westerly, practically constituting an archipelago with the Commander Islands. Attu Island, discovered 1741 by Bering’s deputy, Aleksei Ilyich Chirikov (1703-1748), as the westernmost Aleutian island – 200 years later (1943) scene of the only battle of World War II on American soil – in addition obviously split into several islands, of which the largest one in the southwest is designated “Atta”, whereas with “Ins St Theodori” the most southeasterly one shows Chirikov’s original designation of the island. In Jean Janvier’s continent map of Asia published c. 1770 by Lattré the western Aleutian Islands figure in an indeed more correct distance to the Bering Island as just shadowy coastal strip “Terre vue par Mrs. Tchiricowe et Delisle (Louis De l’Isle de la Croyère, d. 1741) en 7.bre 1741” yet.

Cartographic  novelty , too ,

the inlet designated as Matocznik Szar (Matochkin Strait) parting Novaya Zemlya as to be found in probably no map before – also not in Rigobert Bonne’s map of Russia, published 1771 by Lattré in Paris. Otherwise with designation of the known capes and bays, among these Cape Nassau, Asia’s north cape and today Cape Mauritius, as well as the Ice Harbour where Willem Barents (mid 16th cent. – Novaya Zemlya 1697) spent the winter 1696/97 during his second expedition.

complete description per 12,250 on request


Elaborated  Two  Expert  Opinions

for  Two  Petersburg  Harbours , too

(Wiebeking, Karl Friedrich von, Wollin 1762 – Munich 1842). (The Course of the River Elbe from Grodenstack over Cuxhaven till northwest of Kugelbake.) With

6  large  detail  representations

to the reinforcement of the foreland and threefold scale. Engraving printed from 2 plates. 17½ × 28⅜ in (44.4 × 72 cm).

Upper and lower platemark c. 4.5 cm wide each. – Barely noticeable fold at the left image margin. – Lateral margins uncut. The right margin slightly wavy due to the mounting and with traces of box pleats. Isolated little tears in the paper margin backed acid-freely.

Outstanding  special  map , beside of the accurate cartographic representation of the course of the several dykes – of Steinmarne , old + new (of 1741) sea dike of Döse as well as old + new dike of Neuenfelde together with the sluiceways , Lahnungen (double rows of piles for sediment collection) , mud flats and forelands – of special interest the

as  instructive  as  decorative  depictions

of  different  provisions  for  the  protection  of  the  embankment ,

so the profile of the stone boxes in the old state – stone boxes in the newest state – profile of the brick embankment – the parabolic work – the sine embankment – stone dosage at the dike of Neufeld .

Their respective usage for the protection of the foreland as well as the pile dams in the mud flats especially noted in the map. Beyond this with beacons, lights and landmarks as windmills and houses. Among the latter particularly designated Ritzebüttel Castle – at the lower margin with meridian and indicated parallel of latitude referring to it – and the quarantine house at the Kugelbake. Mud flats, sands, pastures and marsh with respective symbols.

Wiebeking , educated technically as versatile as furthermore historically interested, found his first employment in Dusseldorf in 1788 as hydraulic engineer of the grand duchy Berg, but changed soon into Hessian, Austrian and finally Bavarian service. Already in 1818 he left everyday business to dedicate himself completely to his publications. However,

“ the priority of his activity (was) doubtless the field of hydraulic engineering … (He) demanded the creation of public hydro-technical research institutes … A lot of time was devoted by W. to cartography … ”

(Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie LV, 659 ff.). – And Zögner, Kartenschätze, p. 157 :

“ … one of the most able and productive personage of map affairs of his time and together known water and road architect . ”

Important works are i. a. the construction of a new harbour for Lindau (Lake of Constance) and the first larger correction of the River Isar near Munich. Besides expert opinions for flood protection and construction of two harbours in St. Petersburg, for the enhancement of the harbour conditions of Venice, Trieste and Nieuwendiep in Holland. He rejected, however, the construction of the Louis Channel connecting the Rhine with the Danube for his thorough conviction and in the discernment of the advantage of the upcoming railways.

Present map now the rare opportunity for the visualization of the highly interesting construction of modern dykes

in  the  district  of  Hamburg , joined  to  St. Petersburg  as  twin  town  today .

Offer no. 12,211 / EUR  808. / export price EUR  768. (c. US$ 928.) + shipping

Saint Petersburg – Wolf Catcher, Russian. In front large to the left before a lumber yard to the right with laborer scenery at the bank of a wide river enlivened by a sailboat + rowing-boats with the silhouette of a municipal district vis-à-vis dominated by a dome cathedral and a stone-bridge

( Saint  Petersburg

S. Cooper, Russian Wolf Catcher (before St. Petersburg?)

with Peter and Paul Cathedral and Petersburg Bridge?).

Steel engraving by Johann Siebert (b. 1804, 1822/28 pupil of the Art School, still fl. in 1846, all Nuremberg) after S. Cooper (the animal painter Thomas Sidney C.?, Canterbury 1803 – Vernon Holme near C. 1902). Ca. 1835. Inscribed: XXV / S. Cooper pinx. / I. Siebert sc. Nbg., otherwise as above in German along with the address of the Art Establishment of the Bibliographical Institute. 6⅝ × 8 in (16.9 × 20.3 cm).

With the full platemark not measuring with, as rather more seldom for steel engravings, and left-sided stitch-margin.

Offer no. 14,823 / EUR  79. (c. US$ 96.) + shipping

“ … Thank you again for your considered thoughts. I am interested in the ‘Clara’ piece.  Please describe the process for completing a transaction for #15,275 ”

(Mr. M. P., December 8, 2008)