Letters from a Lady, who Resided in Some Years in Russia …

[VIGOR, Jane]. Letters from a Lady, who Resided in Some Years in Russia, to Her Friend in England. With Historical Notes.

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[VIGOR, Jane]. Letters from a Lady, who Resided in Some Years in Russia, to Her Friend in England. With Historical Notes. London, Printed for J. Dodsley, 1775.

Small 8vo. Contemporary calf, spine with raised bands and red morocco lettering-piece; pp. viii, 207, folding genealogical table of the Romanov family at the end; end and tail of spine worn, otherwise very good, bookplate of Sir Robert Calder, a high-ranking British naval officer, chiefly remembered for his controversial actions following the Battle of Cape Finisterre in 1805 which resulted in his court-martial (and missing Trafalgar).
Rare first edition. 'Little is known of Jane Vigor’s long life, encompassing almost all the 18th century, first as the daughter of a wealthy clergyman and latterly as the wife of a Quaker merchant, except for twelve tumultuous years in between into which she packed a lifetime of incident. Between 1728 and 1740, Jane(2) travelled to Russia with the first of her three husbands, became acquainted with all the important figures at Empress Anne’s court, was married and widowed twice, and lost at least two children. When she returned to England, Jane was content to live quietly in Taplow and Windsor, busying herself with charitable works, and it was not until she was 76 that she became known to a wider audience, when the letters she had written during those twelve years, were published anonymously … Nearly 300 years later, these letters, and the eleven additional ones published after her death in 1785(4), still provide one of the most perceptive and entertaining accounts of life in Empress Anne’s Russia' (Alison Haymonds, Windsor local history group, online).

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