Tabula geographica generalis Imperii Russici ad normam novissimarum observationum astronomicarum concinnata a Ioh. Trescotio et Jac. Schmidio.
A beautiful map of the Russian Empire in the era of Catherine the Great.
This is an impressive, large format 1784 map of the Russian Empire using a conic projection printed on three sheets. It was produced in the middle part of Catherine the Great’s reign when Russia had become established as one of Europe’s premier powers. The great monarch herself is depicted at bottom-right in a vignette illustration, holding a map that very much resembles the present one.
The map is extremely detailed and was especially an improvement on earlier maps in the documentation of rivers, mountains, and ethnic groups in Siberia. The Aleutian Islands, which would later bear Catherine’s name, are shown on the far right, divided into two groups and without the Alaskan mainland (although Russian traders were already active in the area, Russian Alaska was not formally established until 1799). The depiction of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands is also notable, as the former was not well-mapped until the voyage of La Pérouse in 1787 and the latter not until the expedition of Khudyakov in 1790-1792. Scales are provided at bottom-left in German miles and Russian verstes. A large watermark can be seen towards top-right when held to the light.
Under Catherine, the Russian empire expanded to the south and west at the expense of the Ottomans, Poland-Lithuania, and other neighboring states. Much of present-day Ukraine and the eastern part of Belarus were added to the Russian Empire during her reign prior to this map’s publication (the governorates at bottom-left), while more lands would be conquered from Poland-Lithuania and Persia in the following years.
This map was produced by Jakob Friedrich Schmidt and Ivan Truscott (often as Treskot), and was engraved by Tobias Konrad Lotter in Augsburg. Schmidt and Truscott completed a survey of Russia in 1776 for the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences that was a significant improvement on earlier mapping of the empire, which had relied on the surveys of De l’Isle in the 1750s and 1760s. This map is a condensed form of the information present in the full survey. This map was initially produced in St. Petersburg in 1776, then in 1782 in Venice, engraved by Remondini, and finally the present printing by Lotter in 1784, with its distinctive vivid coloration. A reduced single-sheet atlas edition was also published in the style of Lotter in the mid-late 1780s.
Very good. Three sheets joined. Middle sheet slightly toned. Minor wear at the margins. Beautiful color.