SARYCHEV, Gavril Andreevich (1763-1831)
[Puteshestvie Flota Kapitana Sarycheva po severovostochnoi chasti Sibiri, Ledovitnomu moriu i Vostochnomu okeanu] ... [Voyage of the Fleet Captain Sarychev over the Northeastern Part of Siberia, Frozen Sea and the Pacific Ocean...From 1785 To 1793]
St. Petersburg: 1802. Plate volume, folio. (17 5/8 x 11 3/4 inches). Without title page, as issued. On guards throughout. 51 engraved maps and plates (including large folding map; 43 double-page, 7 single page).
Expertly bound to style in half straight grain green morocco and marbled paper covered boards, flat spine gilt
Provenance: Angus Ivan Ward (1893-1969, U.S. Consul in Russia and China, later Ambassador to Afghanistan; bookplate)
The most important iconography and cartography of Alaska at the beginning of the 19th century.
"This is one of the fundamental and very rare early books on the Aleutian Islands and particularly Unalashka ... The results of Captain Sarychev's observations and measurements are embodied in several maps of the atlas accompanying the description of the voyage - which lasted eight years - and in masterful engravings of views of natives and of their habitations and ceremonies" (Lada Mocarski).
The expedition, the third official Russian expedition to the North Pacific, was sponsored by Catherine II and led by Joseph Billings who had accompanied Captain Cook on his third voyage. Charged with mapping the regions not surveyed by Bering, the party sailed from Okhotsk in 1787. Sarychev's initial task of surveying the coast to the east of the Kolyma River was thwarted by pack ice. But in 1790, Billings crossed the North Pacific to the Aleutian Islands, proceeding as far as Mount Elias. Sarychev, in command of the ship Chernui Orel, accompanied Billing's to the coast of Alaska, where he was responsible for surveying the coast, visiting Unalaska and Schugatskish Bay (i.e. Prince William Sound), returning in 1793. Sarychev's observations provided the first substantive scientific account of the Aleutians and part of the Alaska coast.
Nine years after returning from the expedition, Sarychev completed his official account. The work was published in two quarto text volumes, along with a folio plate volume. Although bibliographies differ on the collation of maps and plates, new scholarship which compared extant examples has conclusively found the work complete, as here, with 51 maps and plates. Furthermore, there is some evidence to suggest that the volume of maps and plates was available for sale separately.
The extensive maps, coastal profiles, and engravings of natives are the most important examples of Russian American iconography and cartography of the Alaska coast published up to this time. A remarkable atlas of engraved views of Northwestern American.
Arctic Bib. 37223; Bagrow, A History of Russian Cartography up to 1800, pp.229-232, 252; Cox I, p.353; Howes S115; Howgego S50; Lada-Mocarski 57; Obol'ianinov 2406; Pilling 3488; Sabin 77173; Wickersham 6128; Whittaker, Russia Engages the World, 1453-1825, p.101.