This large-format manuscript (the translation of the Russian title is “Bridge-building project across the Neva River to accommodate the passage of ships at all times, 1802”) presents a bridge-building project across the Neva River in St. Petersburg. Following the title page with a decorative frame in a gray color wash (fol. 2) and the table of contents (fol. 3), there are twelve panels of watercolored drawings that give an overview and a detailed view of the project. Seven illustrations are two-sided, one of them has a fold-out page. All texts in this manuscript are in Russian and in Cyrillic script. — The bridge was designed by Charles Baird (1766–1843), a Scottish engineer who had set up a business for metal casting, machine construction and shipbuilding in St. Petersburg and who had built a cast-iron bridge nearby in 1805/06. The manuscript's bridge project, however, calls for a combination of a floating bridge and a drawbridge: the floating bridge, resting on pontoons, splits into two branches, which end in two drawbridges near the shore (fol. 4a-5), so that it is possible to cross the bridge even while a ship passes beneath it. Other panels show, for example, the lifting mechanism hidden in the pillars (fol. 14a, 16, 17) and one of the boat-like pontoons anchored in the bed of the Neva River (fol. 20a-21). – The manuscript was purchased in Copenhagen in 1978.
Online Since: 10/08/2015