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Book from Catherine’s library is back, 06.09.2017

The Museum has obtained from a German private collector an eighteenth-century book from the Memorial Library of Tsarkoe Selo (see pictures left and below, click to enlarge).

The two-volume pocket edition of Analyse raisonnée de la sagesse de Charron (Rational analysis of Charron’s wisdom) by Jean-Pierre-Louis de Luchet was published in 1789 in London.

It bears the “BIBLIOTHEQUE DE TSARSKOE SELO” stamps and was most probably bought for Catherine II from Johann Jakob Weitbrecht (1744–1803), a German typographer, musician, publisher and court supplier in St Petersburg, who sold several ‘petit format’ book sets to the Russian imperial court in 1788 and 1789. Two of those sets, looking very much like the book purchased by the Museum, were stored in Catherine’s Library of the Agate Rooms, in one of the surviving bookcases with 15-17 cm high shelves for pocket-size volumes.

The artifact has joined the Museum’s collection of rare books and will be showcased in thematic exhibitions.


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