LYALL, Robert. The Character of the Russians, and a Detailed History of Moscow … With a Dissertation on the Russian Language and an Appendix, containing Tables, Poli….

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LYALL, Robert. The Character of the Russians, and a Detailed History of Moscow … With a Dissertation on the Russian Language and an Appendix, containing Tables, Political, Statistical, and Historical; an Account of the Imperial Agricultural Society of Moscow; a Catalogue of Plants found in and near Moscow; an Essay on the Origin and Progress of Architecture in Russia, &c. &c. London, printed for T. Cadell and W, Blackwood in Edinburgh, 1823.

4to. Contemporary half-calf over marbled boards, spine with raised bands and red morocco lettering-piece; pp. [3]-28, [2], cliv, [2], 639, half-title bound after preliminaries, 23 plates including 13 colored aquatints (one folding) and one uncolored aquatint, 9 line-engravings (3 folding), one large folding engraved plan of Moscow and two wood-engravings in text, most plates by Finden after Lavrof; binding with wear but holding firm, final leaf with vertical crease, two black and white folding plates a little spotted, otherwise a rather clean and fresh copy; Rothschild bookplate.
First edition. Robert Lyall (1789-1831) was a botanist and traveller who, in 1815, went to Russia as a physician, where he graduated as a doctor and surgeon at the Imperial Medico-Surgical Academy in St. Petersburg in 1816. In 1822, Lyall was invited to join Marchese Pucci, Count Salazar and the Englishman Edward Penrhyn to the southern Russian provinces as an interpreter; their journey took them through the regions of the title in the period April to August 1822. Lyall returned to London with his family in August 1823, and published first Character of the Russians and a Detailed History of Moscow (1823), and later his account of the journey with Pucci, Salazar and Penrhyn as Travels in Russia, the Krimea, the Caucasus, and Georgia. The present book is the first English-language history of Moscow from the middle ages to the rebuilding of the city following the Napoleonic invasion and fire of 1812. It further includes a catalogue of the botany of the city and its environs, as well as essays on architecture and critiques of Russian nobility and peasantry. This last aspect 'had precipitated his departure from Russia, and the book's dedication to Tsar Alexander was disavowed by the Russian vice-consul". Following the death of the Tsar, Lyall published a number of essays criticising his 'despotism and the inquisitorial police state' (ODNB).
Abbey 227.

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