Early biography of Russian Empress Catharina »the Great«, 1797
Georg Freiherr von TANNENBERG: LEBEN CATHARINA II. With 1 copper engraving. Leipzig: 1797.
CATHARINA II. [Tsar, Russia]; Georg Freiherr von TANNENBERG: LEBEN CATHARINA II. Kaiserin und Selbstherrscherin aller Reussen etc. etc. [The Life of Catherine II. Empress and Autocrat of all Russians etc. etc.]. With 1 copper engraved (in dotted manner) by [Johann Carl] Schleich after a painting of Catherine by. M.[ichele] Benedetti frontispiece. Leipzig: Self published, 1797.
8vo. [7 leaves (front., title, printed dedication, preface, toc.)], 256 pp. Etching and letterpress, bound in contemporary half leather with ornamental blind stamped spine title and leather corners, boards covered with paste paper.
First edition of this comprehensive biography im German language of Catharina »the Great«, published only one year after the Russian Empress had deceaded.
Author, Content: Georg (also Gregorieč) Tannenberg (died 1805) was a major of the Russian cavalry and longstanding adjudant of Suvorov. His account on Catharina paints a favourable picture of her political (war policy in particular), social and private life and deeds and was explicitly aimed by the author to protect her obituary against „defamatory“ writings of contemporaries. From an actual perspective of particular interest may be a chapter about the „Building of Cherson“, initiated by Catherine II. in 1778. The author later also wrote about the life of Catherine’s son, Tsar Paul I. (1804).
Condition: Edges and corners of cover bumped, boards worn, cover as well as first and last leaves partly and slightly foxy, end papers lacking, title page with decent stamp, paper in parts spotted, upper edge of book-block with a tighter cut to fit the binding (not text loss however); otherwise well preserved.
Rarity: Particularly scarce in trade, JAP/APO and RBH quote only 6 copies at auction (2008, 1997/95/76/72/57) for the last 100 years.
Reference: Hayn/Gotendorf III, 528 (wrongly names „Tannenburg“); Hamburger/Meusel, 5th ed., vol. 16 (1812) cit. WBIS/DBA.