LEVENSON , A. A. [printer]. Istoricheskii ocherk i opisanie masterskikh [Description of the History and Workshop]. 1881-1903. Moscow, Levenson, 1903.
Folio. Original dark green crushed half-morocco over polished calf with bevelled edges, colour-printed central motifs on both upper and lower cover, partially gilt edges, spectacular colour-printed and embossed ornamental endpapers; pp. half-title, title in sepia, colour-printed presentaion leaf signed by Levenson, photogravure portrait of Levenson under mount, pp. [x], 108, , numerous colour plates, vignettes and specimens of colour printing in the text and on plates in pagination; p. 32 with colour illustration torn away from upper outer corner, lacking illustration on pp. 45/46, rubbing to extremities, a few minor spots here and there internally.
This is an incredibly beautiful demonstration of Levenson's printing prowess, with illustrations of the printing processes, elaborate specimens of colour printing and the depiction of the purpose-built 'fast printing house', designed in 1900 in the art nouveau style by F. Shekhtel, one of the first proto-modernist industrial buildings in the Russian Empire. This building was restored to its former glory in 2016. The printshop had been founded in 1881 and after having received commissions for the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II in 1896 it was given the title Imperial Court Supplier. Levenson printed the first books by Chekhov, Melpomene’s Fairy Tales, and the first collections of poems by Marina Tsvetayeva, Evening Album and Magic Lantern.
Provenance: The printed and signed presentation leaf was made out Nikolai Mateevich Kuznetsov in calligraphy and is signed by him as well. Kuznetsov was member of the family who ran and owned the eponymous the porcelain manufacturing business, which produced goods of such fine quality that in 1902 the owner was bestowed the title of court-purveyor. In 1896 Levenson's architect Shekhtel had built a Kuznetsov House in Moscow. The art manufacturing elite amongst themselves.