[Moscow]: A. Rerikh, ca. 1900-1903. Oblong folio (25.5 × 35 cm). Original embossed green cloth with gilt title to front board and 25 leaves of photographic plates. Inscription to marbled boards reads: “Presented to F. Lambert by acting Abbot of Solovetsky Monatery, Sept. 20, 1918.” Boards and corners lightly scuffed; discoloration to cloth edges; small ink stain to front board; hinges somewhat weak; else internally very good.
An album containing a visual encyclopedia of everyday life at the Solovetsky Monastery at the turn of the twentieth century, shortly before it was restructured into the infamous Solovky prison camp after the Bolshevik Revolution. The album contains full-page photographs of the Solovetsky island harbor, and the scenic locations of the archipelago, as well as aspects of the everyday life of the monks such as their craft work, hay making and agricultural work, arrival of fishing boats, classes of the icon-painting academy, grazing of livestock, work of the field kitchen, et cetera. The album also captures the internal views of the armory, the sacristy, and other monastery interiors, many of which were destroyed during a fire in 1923. Founded in 1436, the monastery developed into a major religious and trading center by the seventeenth century, with this album capturing its daily operations shortly before its closure in 1920. The monastery was turned into a state prison in 1923–1939, housing political prisoners and becoming especially infamous during Stalin’s “Great Terror.” This album seems to have been gifted to its owner, one F. Lambert, by the last Abbot of the Monastery, Veniamin Kononov (Abbot 1917–1920). As of July 2020, KVK and OCLC show only one copy, at Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.
Book ID: P5588