This is a fine example of Adam and Charles Black's 1844 map of European Russia. It depicts the European portions of Russia from the Arctic Sea south to the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, and extending west as far as Poland and east as far as Orenburg and Perm, inclusive of the Ukraine. Various towns, rivers, cities, mountains and several other topographical details are noted with relief shown by hachure.
When this map was printed, Russia was ruled by Tsar Nicholas I who adopted the doctrine of 'Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality' and was known to be one of the most reactionary monarchs in Russia. In 1825, Russian army officers, called the Decembrists, protested against Nicholas I's ascension to the throne. The Decembrists, so named because their revolt started in December, favored Nicholas I's brother, Constantine, who seemed amenable to a British style constitutional monarchy. When Constantine abdicated the throne in 1825, the Decembrists refused to accept the more autocratic rule of Nicholas I. Had Constantine not abdicated and the Decembrists been successful, the bloody Bolshevik Revolution may never have occurred.
This map was engraved by Sidney Hall and issued as plate nos. XXVII and XXVIII in the 1844 edition of Black's General Atlas.
Charles and Adam Black (fl. 1807 - present) were map and book publishers based in Edinburgh. Charles and his uncle, Adam, both of Edinburgh, Scotland, founded their publishing firm in 1807. They published a series of maps and atlases throughout the 19th century. In addition to an array of atlases, the Black firm is known for their editions of the Encyclopedia Britannica (1817 - 1826) and the first publishing of Sir Walter Scott's novels in 1854. In 1889 the A. & C. Black publishing house moved to London where it remains in operation to this day.
Sidney Hall (1788 - 1831) was an English engraver and map publisher active in London during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. His earliest imprints, dating to about 1814, suggest a partnership with Michael Thomson, another prominent English map engraver. Hall engraved for most of the prominent London map publishers of his day, including Aaron Arrowsmith, William Faden, William Harwood, and John Thomson, among others. Hall is credited as being one of the earliest adopters of steel plate engraving, a technique that allowed for finer detail and larger print runs due to the exceptional hardness of the medium. Upon his early death - he was only in his 40s - Hall's business was inherited by his wife, Selina Hall, who continued to publish under the imprint, "S. Hall", presumably for continuity. The business eventually passed to Sidney and Selina's nephew Edward Weller, who became extremely prominent in his own right.
Black, A. and C., Black's General Atlas (Edinburgh), 1844.
Black's General Atlas was a popular Scottish atlas of the world issued by the Edinburgh firm of Adam and Charles Black. This atlas was first issued in 1840 with subsequent editions being printed well into the 1890s. While most editions were printed in Edinburgh, an American edition was issued in 1857. Most early editions of his atlas were engraved by S. Hall. Typically this refers to Sidney Hall, who died in 1831, but in this case, since the engraving was initiated well after his death, it was most likely his widow, Selina Hall, who did the engraving. Later editions feature additional maps updated and engraved by William Hughes. Early editions featured outline color only, but later editions embraced a full color approach with pale green, yellow, and blue pastels. All editions are known for their meticulous presentation of the most up-to-date cartographic information. Moreover, this exceptionally long publication run provides a fine cartographic record of the middle to late 19th century - particularly as regards the complex cartographic evolution of the Americas through this period.
Very good. Original platemark visible. Blank on verso. Minor wear along original centerfold.
Rumsey 2305.034 (1854 edition). Philips (atlases) 4334.