Rare Pilot of the Gulfs of Finland, Riga, and Bothnia
By SPAFARIEFF, Leonty , 1817

Atlas of the Gulf of Finland Containing the South Coast with the Islands belonging to it from cape Luserort to Cronstadt with lighthouses & Towers necessary to be known for sailing by night. Compiled and Published by the Director of the light houses Major General knight Leonty Spafarieff. [Title also in Russian

  • Author: SPAFARIEFF, Leonty
  • Publication place: St Petersburg
  • Publisher: Engraved and printed in the Naval Printing Office
  • Publication date: 1817.
  • Physical description: Folio (660 by 500mm), engraved title in Russian and English, dedication in Russian, German, French and English, one plate of a lighthouse light, and 13 charts (12 double-page and one single), a few minor tears skilfully repaired, original half calf over red marbled paper boards, rebacked.
  • Inventory reference: 2360


Rare Pilot of the Baltic Sea.

The pilot consists of detailed charts of the gulfs of Finland, Riga, and Bothnia. The title page give specific mention to the lighthouses and towers along the southern shores of the Gulf of Finland, from Luserort (modern day Ovisi) to Kronstadt. The Ovisi lighthouse house is still in operation to this day; constructed in 1814 it is the oldest working lighthouse in Latvia.

The first plate is a detailed diagram of a lighthouse touch. Many of the subsequent charts show elevations of the newly constructed lighthouses and towers along the Finish Gulf, together with soundings and the lighthouses radii. All charts bear titles in Russian, although several have additional titles in English,French, and German. The first 11 charts detail the coasts of the Gulfs of Finland, and Riga, with the last two concentrating on the Gulf of Bothnia.

Knight Leontiy Vassilievich Spafarieff (or Spafaryev) (1765 – 1847) was a Lieutenant General of the Imperial Russian Navy, the director of the Lighthouse Administration, and cartographer of the Russian Admiralty. He made important contributions to the improvement of navigation along the Russian, and Baltic coasts. The first lighthouses in Russia were built during Tsar Peter the Great’s drive for reform and modernization at the beginning of the 18th century. However, it was only until the Lighthouse Administration was created in 1807 that the Russian lighthouse system followed an organised pattern, becoming effective and efficient. Its first director was Leontiy Spafarieff.

Rare. We were only able to trace two institutional examples that in the Free Library of Philadelphia and the other in the National Library of Scotland. The NLS example contains 12, one less than the present example. We are also unable to trace any auction record for the pilot. An example of the 2nd Edition (1823) was sold by Christies in 1995, which also contained 12 charts.


1. Lighthouse plate.
2. [I] A Chart of the Part of the Gulf of Finland from Stoneskare to Cronstadt Where the light houses & towers are marked.
3. [III] A Chart of a part of the Gulf of Finland from the Island of Dago to Stoneskare is with the Light Houses marked.
4. [VII] A Chart of Riga Bay with the Mon sound….
5. [Mouth of the Daugava River]
6. [VIII] The Chart for the entrance into the bay of Riga…
7. [Chart of the Voosi Kurk Strait] Carte de Passage Mon sund…
8. [VI] A part of the Island Dago [Hiiumaa] with the Gulf at the N.E. side of it, known under the name of Deephaven sounded in 1814.
9. [V] A Chart of the Baltic Port [Paldiski] with the Entrance to it. [Single page]
10. [IV] [Talinn] Chart of Revel Roads The entrance to the roads and Light houses of Catherindal…
11. [II] Special Karte der Insel Lavensaar… [and] Special Karte der Insel Sommers…
12. [X] A Map of the Bay near Tolsborough in the river Kunda…
13. [XI] Chart of part of the Gulf of Bothnia.
14. [XII] Chart of part of the Gulf of Bothnia.

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