The Saddle of Boris Godunov

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Dear Jack,

This is from a 1854 Russian chromolithograph, done at the behest of Tsar Alexander II, of a saddle which had been used by tsar Boris Godunov, now at the Kremlin Armory.

Have been working most of the night scanning and doing a very meticulous, slow, job on the Russian chromolithographs. Since 1854, many have acquired stains, ranging from light yellow to orange-ish to a few magenta spots. Getting rid of this stuff is tedious, especially when it gets into the small lettering in the titles and attributions. Before I acquired the Mac and Photoshop,the only alternative to restoration (getting rid of the stains) was to try chemical bleaching. Although I have had success with bleaching on B&W lithos (which are of inert carbon pigment), this process would entail risks with color prints - and failure would be irreversible. Now, my problem has been solved.

In addition, the originals are larger than the platen on my scanner - which necessitates the making of multiple scans, and then fitting the pieces together in Photoshop. But I'll tell you this: the satisfaction I feel in seeing the results of the restoration of these great old lithos is more than worth the effort. If I am to do the entire set, which includes subjects other than arms & armor, it would amount to several hundred plates! Dilemmas!

The attached is the last image I did this evening. It is the saddle of Boris Godunov! I felt it particularly appropriate to send this one to you, in view of the interest in horses that you guys have (hazardous though it may be).

I'll bet that there is 'nary' such a picture of it in the USA!


Webmaster's Note: We did this page on Jan. 1999. Today, Feb. 2014, George sent me this note. Don't miss them.

Greatly improved images.


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