CHAPPE D'AUTEROCHE, Jean-Baptiste (1728-1769); and Stepan Petrovich KRASHENINNIKOV (1713-1755)
Voyage en Siberie, fait par ordre du roi en 1761; contenant les Moeurs, les Usages des Russes
Paris: Chez Debure, 1768. 4 volumes (Text: 2 volumes in 3; atlas volume), quarto. (13 1/4 x 9 3/4 inches). [Text:] Engraved frontispiece by J.B. Tilliard after J.B. le Prince to volume one, part I, 56 engraved plates and plans by J.P. le Bas, J.B. Tilliard, A. de St. Aubin, C. Baquoy, et al after le Prince, C. de Fecamp, and J.M. Moreau, one engraved table, engraved title vignette by Duclos after le Prince, woodcut vignettes on other titles, engraved head-piece and type-ornament head-pieces, woodcut tail-pieces. [Atlas:] Engraved frontispiece by J.B. Tilliard after J.B. le Prince, 30 double-page or folding maps and plans.
Contemporary mottled calf, spines with raised bands in seven compartments, red and green morocco lettering pieces in the second and third, the others with a repeat decoration in gilt, marbled endpapers and edges, expert repairs to joints.
Provenance: Dalancourt (early bookseller's label on the front pastedowns)
First edition of an important early account of Siberia, including the first complete translation of Krasheninnkov's description of Kamchatka.
The French priest and astronomer Abbe Jean-Baptiste Chappe d'Auteroche travelled to Siberia in 1761 to observe the transit of Venus. The 1761 transit of Venus saw scholars dispatched all over the world in order to take measurements from as many disparate locations as possible. This scientific effort allowed scientists to calculate the size of the solar system for the first time. Chappe d'Auteroche was appointed to travel to Tobolsk in Siberia, where he observed the transit, guarded by a squad of Cossacks necessary to protect him from the suspicious local population. His monumental work is by no means limited to astronomical matters but gives a highly descriptive account of the trip, including details on the meteorology, climate, fauna and minerals of the region, as well as a sociological commentary. As Hill comments, these "forthright and sometimes provocative descriptions of Russian manners and character ... inspired the publication of an indignant rebuttal, sometimes attributed to Catherine the Great." The numerous engravings after Jean-Baptiste Le Prince, a student of François Boucher, are particularly attractive, offering a rococo vision of Siberian life. The second volume comprises a translation of Krasheninnikov's Opisanie zemli Kamchatki (St Petersburg: 1755). Although a French translation had been previously published, it was based on the much abridged English translation by Grieve, whereas Chappe d'Auteroche worked from the original Russian for inclusion in this work. According to the preface, the translation was made in St. Petersburg, where he consulted Gerhard Friedrich Muller, supervisor of both Krasheninnikov and Steller on Bering's second expedition.
Cox I, 352; Hill 277; cf. Lada-Mocarski 12; Wickersham 6607 Brunet I, 1798.