369 plans of St Petersburg : the July 2018 Slavonic item of the month

UL staff hand provided to show scale.

The University Library has recently acquired a huge facsimile set of architectural plans of St Petersburg dating from the 1730s and 1740s.  Arkhitekturnye chertezhi i plany Sankt-Peterburga (2017) consists of two 52 x 37 centimetre cases of loose-leaf pages showing plans made for Friedrich Wilhelm von Bergholz, and a smaller commentary book.  The publication is Russian but the plans and drawings come from the Nationalmuseum in Sweden, so the new purchase was made with money from the Slavonic and Scandinavian accessions budgets.

St Petersburg was founded by Peter the Great in 1703.  Bergholz spent several years in the 1720s visiting Russia from the Duchy of Holstein, and the drawings of the new city he later commissioned and which are reprinted in this new set will be of particular interest to those looking at the early history of St Petersburg.  The commentary volume gives the following English summary on its cover:

Drawings and blueprints of buildings, panoramas of streets and embankments of St. Petersburg and its suburbs from 1730s -1740s come from the collection of F.W. Bergholtz that was kept in the Swedish National Museum of Fine Arts, Stockholm. The blueprints (253 originals on 369 tablets) are mostly reproduced to scale, faithfully representing the color as well as notes made by Bergholtz himself. Almost all of them were not previously published.

The 369 numbered folded sheets showing the facsimiles are divided between the two cases.  The publisher currently has the full list of contents for case 1 (Russian and English) and case 2 (Russian and English) available on their website.

Samples from the set (apologies for poor quality of photographs)

Each folded sheet is dedicated to a single original drawing or plan, which is reproduced in colour on its internal pages.  On the back page of each sheet is a modern photo of the location.  Details about the Bergholz image are given, as are quotations and bibliographical references where possible.  The set is a truly impressive addition to the Library and builds particularly on the Catherine Cooke architecture collection.  While Catherine’s interests lay chiefly in the early Soviet period, a great many books and journal issues in her collection relate to the architecture of Imperial Russia, as well as dozens of cards in her postcard collection.

The loose-leaf nature of the Bergholz set and its not inconsiderable price mean that we have placed it in the a class sequence under the care of our Rare Books and Early Manuscripts colleagues.  The cases and accompanying volume stand (or, more accurately, lie) at F201.bb.14.1(1-3).

Mel Bach

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