This publication is an attempt to reconstruct some of the largely forgotten pages from Moscow's life at the turn of the 19th century, to present a broad cross-section of its community from a governor-general to a shady dosser on the basis of widely diverse masterworks by renowned Russian photographers active at that time.
The photographs have been selected from the major collections belonging to. The Central State Archives of Cinematic and Photographic Documents in St. Petersburg, one of the basic sources of photographic material on the Emperor Nicholas II coronation festivities and other State events that took place in Moscow during his reign; The Photo Archives of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of the History of Material Culture, abounding in depictions of architectural structures collected by the Imperial Archaeological Commission; and The Russian State Archives of Cinematic and Photographic Documents in Krasnogorsk, which house an immense amount of material on theatrical art. The book also includes photographs from the remarkable collection of M.S.Pariisky along with works by N.I.Svishchov-Paola, the photo studio of K.E. von Can and Co. and other photographers.
Most of the 170 prints herein presented were made from authentic glass negatives or original positives. Each picture is accompanied by a caption and, whenever possible, by the name of the photographer and the date it was taken. A large number of subjects are supplied with extensive commentaries which give the readers an insight into the realities of Russia's past.