Goznak has published an edition dedicated to the 195th anniversary of the Company 05.11.2013
The Expedition of Storing State Papers (Goznak since 1919) created in 1818 for the production of banknotes protected against counterfeiting earned fame as one of the best printing works in Russia already in the first half of the 19th century.
Already then, at the very beginning the practice of inviting foreign specialists – engineers, masters, artists, engravers – to work at the Expedition was established. Many of them stayed in Russia for ever and contributed a lot to the printing success of the Expedition of Storing State Papers. But at the same time their best Russian colleagues gathered at the new institution.
Artists, engravers, papermaking masters of the Expedition very soon learned to create samples of paper with complicated watermarks which were met with delight and surprise in the enlightened countries.
It’s possible to consider the handmade paper with watermarks to be the first artistic masterpieces issued at the Expedition of Storing State Papers. During the whole 19th century artists of the Expedition created unique papers. Their images astound with the detail fineness, the intricacy of a plot, the art of execution. At the “Graphics Elements” exhibition at the State Tretyakov Gallery in November 2012 the old papers with watermarks of the Expedition of Storing State Papers were great successes, no less than in the middle of the 19th century.
Simultaneously with the banknote production the Expedition also carried out some purely printing works under the orders of governmental institutions, private societies and separate persons. A special printing works was founded with the approval of the Minister of Finance in 1825. The Expedition’s printing works possessed high-quality samples of the Greek, Gothic, Slavic, Arabic and other fonts already then. Orders soon followed.
the editions produced at the Expedition during the first decade of its existence are well-known. They are first of all “Many-Coloured Fairy Tales” – a literary hoax by V. Odoevskiy and one of monuments of the Russian book culture. According to his own confession its author “wanted to prove the possibility of luxurious editions in Russia”.
the book printed under the supervision of N.V. Gogol may be considered an example of the first printed masterpiece created at the printing works of the Expedition. From the point of view of our time its design looks modest, but in the first half of the 19th century the book was met with delight, its design was called “coquettish”.
The title page under the cover with finest lacy patterns the Expedition was famous of was printed in six inks. Every line, and in the word “Fairy Tales” every letter was printed in various colours. The contemporaries called it a miracle kept in strict secret at the Expedition.
Books and albums created during the whole 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century are noted for perfect quality of paper and printing, high style and splendid artistic design. It is obvious that the Expedition reached real printing success in this non-core business, to say in the modern language. It is enough to name works by D.A. Rovinskiy – “The Russian Folk Pictures” (1881) and “Authentic Portraits of the Moscow Sovereigns Ivan III, Vasily Ivanovich and Ivan IV the Terrible and the embassies of their times” (1882), the famous “Coronation Collection” (1899) or “The Grand Ducal, Tsarist and Imperial Hunting in Russia” by N.I. Kutepov (1896 – 1911). The Masterpieces of painting and graphic art in the editions of the Expedition of Storing State Papers and Goznak” album describes the history of creation of these and other printed rarities.