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Galerie des plénipotentiaires au Congrès de Paris: accompagnées de notices historiques et biographiques et suivies du traitè de paix, photographies par mm. Mayer fréres et Pierson, lithographièes par mm. Arnout [et alii], Paris, Bourdin, 1856

Biblioteca degli Uffizi
Printed volume
h. 54 cm
S.Demidoff/41, inventario 30456
Binding in green leather with both covers decorated with gilded squares and an 'A' in each corner, the initials of the name 'Anatolij'; in the centre, gilded relief with the figure of the double-headed eagle, symbol of the Russian Empire. The dedication page bears the coded monogram 'AD' (initials of Anatolij Demidov) surmounted by a crown and a stamp of origin with the inscription 'Bibliothèque de San Donato'. On the top left of the front cover, a label bears the initials 'OP1'.

The album presented here came from the, now dispersed, library of Villa San Donato, which the Demidov family owned in Florence. As a matter of fact, the volume is marked with both the stamp of origin 'Bibliothèque de San Donato' and the coded monogram 'AD' of Anatolij Demidov surmounted by a crown. It is also lavishly covered in bright green leather and silk, the same colour of the malachite extracted from the family mines. The back of the front cover bears an elegantly framed label with the initials 'OP1', which probably refers to the volume's former location in the Villa's library. The Galerie des plénipotentiaires au Congrès de Paris is an album with photographic portraits and reproductions of the signatures of the delegates to the 1856 Congress of Paris - including Camillo Benso Count of Cavour as delegate of the Kingdom of Sardinia - which was crucial for the signing of a peace treaty that would re-establish the geopolitical balance between the Russian Empire, the European powers, and the Ottoman Empire after the terrible Crimean War (1854-1856). The 'Galerie' was donated to 'Son Altesse, Monseigneur, le Prince Anatole de Demidoff' by the publisher Bourdin of Paris, with whom 20 years earlier Anatolij had published his Voyage dans la Russie Méridionale et la Crimée, an account of the expedition in that area undertaken by the Russian prince in 1837.

The Galerie des plénipotentiaires au Congrès de Paris entered the Uffizi Library as a 'gift by the Demidoff family' in May 1975, after the auction of the furnishings of Villa Demidoff in Pratolino, which was arranged by the heir of the family, Paolo Karageorgevič, in 1969.


L.Tonini, Diario di viaggio in Crimea e altre pubblicazioni di Anatolio Demidoff, in I Demidoff a Firenze e in Toscana, edited by EADEM, Firenze, 1996, pp. 261-280 ; Demidoff, Anatole de, entry L.3669 http://www.marquesdecollections.fr/ ;Sotheby’S of London, Catalogo dell’arredamento della villa Demidoff presso Firenze venduto per odine di S.A.R. il Principe Paolo di Jugoslavia. 21, 22, 23 e 24 aprile 1969 alla villa Demidoff, London, 1969.

Text by
Carla Basagni
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