Dam and Mill on Prince Fedor's Side of the City


In the early summer of 1910, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled and photographed extensively in Tver’ Province northwest of Moscow. Among the towns he visited was the regional commercial center of Rzhev, the population of which in that year was 22,400. First referred to in written sources under the year 1019, Rzhev frequently changed hands between Lithuania and different Russian principalities during the medieval period. In 1521 it was finally absorbed by Muscovy. As the first major town on the Volga River, Rzhev prospered in the 18th and early 19th centuries, until the building of railroads reduced its significance for transportation. This view up the Volga River on the Prince Fyodor side shows a primitive dam built on a side channel to power a water mill. Splotches of color on the right indicate the motion of figures during the time required for the photographer’s unique three-exposure process. The mottled color of the river surface reflects the same phenomenon. Prokudin-Gorskii used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. Some of his photographs date from about 1905, but the bulk of his work is from between 1909 and 1915, when, with the support of Tsar Nicholas II and the Ministry of Transportation, he undertook extended trips through many different parts of the empire.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Плотина и мельница на Кн. Федоровской стороне

Type of Item

Physical Description

Glass negative (presented as a digital color composite)


  • Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographic work survives primarily in two forms: 1,901 black-and-white triple-frame glass plate negatives, made with color separation filters, which Prokudin-Gorskii used to make color prints and lantern slides; and 12 albums of sepia-tone prints, made from the glass negatives, which Prokudin-Gorskii compiled as a record of his travels and studies. The Library of Congress purchased the glass plate negatives and the albums from the Prokudin-Gorskii family in 1948. In 2004, the Library of Congress had digital color composites made from all the surviving glass negatives using a software algorithm to automatically align the color components. As with most historical photographs, title and subject identifications are corrected and enhanced through new research. Current information on the collection is at http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/prok/.

Last updated: January 13, 2017