Very Large 26cm x 35cm hardbound album with 215 incredibly rare photos belonging to an aristocratic Imperial Russian pilot, circa 1913-15. About 80% of the album consists of aviation related photos, the rest civilian and Army. Photos start with shots from the School of Aviation at Sebastopol, Crimea and move on to service at the front. Most photos are 11cm x 9cm or bigger.
In the album are large numbers of superb shots of Russian Officer pilots, both early and post 1913 aviation insignia can be seen being worn as well are pilots badges and various Awards. Others include photos of inspection by Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich, chief of Russian aviation, funerals of pilots, flying kit being worn, a small number of aerial shots; over Petrograd, pilots mess, in cars, airfields, artillery pieces, German prisoners, aircraft and transport being transported by rail, parades, with nurses etc etc. One very unusual and undoubtedly early of Russian Officers/pilots with an American army officer! Aircraft wise we have mainly early types, including Morane Saulnier G, Deperdussin TT, Voisen III, Caudron G3 etc. although there is an interesting shot of Spad VII’s being transported by rail. Shots include; engines, aircraft in flight, crashes, dead aircrew, pilots in and around aircraft, being repaired, dismantled etc etc. Place names mentioned include Sebastopol, Yalta, Katcha, Riga, Petrograd, Dwina. The Russian school of aviation at Sebastopol moved to Katcha in 1912, so since this pilot served at both he was clearly one of the very first Russian pilots.
Condition wise the album itself is a quite worn and pages are a bit discoloured to edges of many. However the photos themselves are excellent as can be seen from examples on the PDF.
An exceptionally rare and potentially historically important album, of the 1000+ WW1 aviation albums I’ve had through my hands over the years, this is only my second Russian one, the other having just a handful of aviation photos. Due to the Revolution in Russia, very few albums to aristocratic military Officers have survived and in particular to early pilots. The pilot who’s album this was clearly such a man.