St. Petersburg: tip. Sukhoput. kadet. korpusa, 1774. Item #251
V.1: , 203, , 44 pp.,  front. (ill.),  pl.; V.2: , 175, , 65 pp.,  front. (ill.). 26x20 cm. Two volumes bound in one contemporary full leather. Two engraved frontispieces showing allegoric images of Catherine the Great. Gold stamping on the spine. A very
good clean copy.
Book by Ivan Ivanovich Betskoy (1704-1795), a Russian school reformer who served as Catherine’s advisor on education and President of the Imperial Academy of Arts for thirty years (1764–94). His favorite project was to build the biggest orphanage in Moscow.
This orphanage opened in 1760s was a massive project of the time inspired by Betskoy and backed by Catherine the Great - being ‘an enlightened monarch’ she wanted to try out the ideas of European Age of Enlightment and apply them to her country. The idea behind the orphanage was to create ‘ideal citizens’ from abandoned children. The capacity of the orphanage was set to be 8000 children.
The project was sponsored by Catherine herself and the wealthiest people in the country. The total of donations were close to 1 million rubles (with Catherine giving 200 000 herself)!
The architecture of the main building is significant as well. Designed by Karl Blank (1728-1793), a Russian-German architect who was one of the earliest Russian classicist architects working in the age when baroque was still the key style in Russia. The main building of the orphanage is 379 meters long from the front facade that makes it both the most extended facade of Russian buildings in 18th century and the most extended building of pre-Revolutionary Moscow.
The shortened translation of this book came out in Amsterdam a year later.