RYD, Valerius [with] STÖFFLER, Johann


RYD, Valerius. Catalogus annorum et principum geminus ab homine condito.

Bern, [Matthias Apiarius], 1540.


STÖFFLER, Johann. In procli Diadochi…Sphaeram mundi…commentarius.

Tubingen, Ulrich I Morhart, 1534.


FIRST EDITIONS. Folio. 2 works in 1, ff. (vi) 48 (viii) 135 [136] (i). Roman letter, little Italic. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p of first, woodcut author’s portrait to last of second, c.100 woodcut portraits of princes, genealogies, biblical and historical scenes to first, woodcut astrological schema to second, decorated initials and ornaments. Minor marginal thumbing to first t-p, scattered worm holes touching letter in a few places, slight browning with occasional faint marginal waterstaining to couple of gatherings of second. Very good copies in contemporary Swiss calf, traces of ties, double blind ruled to a panel design, outer border with roll of female allegorical figures and male and female figures in various poses, centre panel with rolls of male and female half figures in profile separated by ornamental designs, raised bands, spine double blind ruled in five compartments, large fleuron in blind to each, very slight rubbing and worming, small repair at foot of spine, loss to lower outer corner. Early casemark to front pastedown, ‘1302’ inked to t-p of first, titles inked to upper and lower fore-edges.

Handsomely bound, finely illustrated historico-astrological sammelband. Valerius Ryd (Valerius Anshelm, 1475-1546/7) was a Swiss historian and the official chronicler of the city of Bern—an appointment he received thanks to the fame achieved with his ‘Catalogus’. Written c.1510 and widely circulated in ms., it is a history of the world ‘ab homine condito’ (from the Creation) to the early C16, handsomely illustrated with biblical and historical scenes, heraldic shields, portraits of princes and genealogical trees in the style of the Nuremberg Chronicle. Ryd relied on the tradition of ‘universal historiography’ dating back to Eusebius’s ‘Chronicon’ (4th century), which rooted the history of the world in the genealogies of Genesis from Adam and Eve. The pivotal ancestor was Noah, whose three sons populated the world anew after the Flood—Japhet in Europe, Shem in Asia and Cham in Africa. Expanded by the Renaissance scholar Annius of Viterbo, this view of history embraced ancient and present civilisations within an immense genealogical network filling the gaps between Genesis and history with mythical figures like Hercules, the Amazons and Gomer, and it identified the passing of history with the (often artificial) linear progression of royal lines. The genealogies of the Four Kingdoms of Daniel—the empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome—are followed by those of European princes and the succession of the Popes. A beautifully crafted instance of the early modern chronicle tradition.

Johann Stöffler (1452-1531) was a German astrologer, astronomer and priest who taught at Tubingen—one of his students was Philip Melanchthon—and produced globes and clocks for notables including the Bishop of Konstanz. This sammelband features his most important, posthumous ‘Commentarius’ to Pseudo-Proclus’s ‘Sphaera’—a major text on cosmography for Renaissance astronomers attributed to a Neoplatonic Greek mathematician. However, ‘Commentarius’ presents Latin excerpts mostly from another ancient astronomical manual, Geminus’s ‘Isagoge’, discussing the structure of the earth, the trajectory of the sun, the zodiac and constellations. ‘Catalogus’ is renowned for its cartographically detailed references to the New World. For instance, in a paragraph on oceanic navigation Stöffler mentioned Vespucci’s discoveries and in another commenting on lands beyond the ‘terra cognita’ delineated by Ptolemy he mentioned new cartographic additions like ‘the western province of America near and partially under the Tropic of Capricorn’. He certainly consulted Martin Waldseemüller’s world map of 1507, the first to call the new continent ‘America’, and the only one to include, like his full passage, references to the Abbey of All Saints founded by Columbus as well as mention of smaller islands like St Marich and the Primeras.

I) BM STC Ger., p. 762; Brunet IV, 1473: ‘peu commun’; Graesse VI, 198. Not in Brunet.  

II) Sabin 91983; BM STC Ger., p. 716; Houzeau & Lancaster 2449; James Ford Bell 538. Not in Brunet, Alden or Caillet. C. van Duzer, ‘The Reluctant Cosmographer: Johannes Stöffler (1452–1531) and the Discovery of the New World’, Terrae Incognitae 49 (2017), 132-48.


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HIGDEN, Ranulf



Southwark, by my Peter Treueris at ye expences of Iohn̄ Reynes, 1527.


Folio. ff. [L] (the last blank), CCCxlvi [i.e. CCCxlvii], [i]. 2a⁸, 2b-2h⁶, a-y⁸, z⁶, A-S⁸, T⁶, U-X⁸. Black letter, in double column, without catchwords. Woodcut title page, printed in red and black, with large woodcut of St. George slaying the dragon, incorporating Reynes’ monogram device (McKerrow 55), a woodcut crown at head, white on black woodcut below with profile portrait of Henry VIII, Royal Arms at left, Arms of the City of London at right, all repeated, joined together, on verso of last, (Hodnett, no. 2489), large woodcut of a battle with woodcut borders on verso of fol. 182, nine smaller cuts from six blocks in text, (Hodnett, no. 2490-2496), “the music cut, recto fol 101, when used in the 1495 edition of this book was the earliest music printing in England” Pforzheimer. Charming woodcut border for colophon (McKerrow & Ferguson. 12), woodcut white on black criblé initials, “Robertus Churchus” in a near contemporary hand on title (Robert Church), with his inscriptions in Greek below and his monogram either side of Reynes’ device, “Thomas and Isabella Hervey” and Willaim Hervey in early mss. at head of title, repeated on blank hh6 verso, long note in a contemporary hand on verso of aa3 (blank), occasional marginal note in a near contemporary hand, the word ‘Pope’ or ‘Papacy’ crossed out in places, modern bookplate on pastedown. Light age yellowing, a little offsetting or ink smudging in places (originally too heavily inked), title and verso of last fractionally dusty, small scattered single worm holes in places, occasional thumb mark or spot. A fine fresh copy, crisp and clean, in early C19th diced Russia, covers bordered with a double gilt rule, blind rules and rolls to a panel design, blind fleurons to corners, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, richly worked in blind in compartments, title gilt lettered, a.e.g. a little rubbed at  upper joint and extremities. 

A fine, fresh copy of the first illustrated edition of the Polycronicon, this “cornerstone of English prose” (Pforzheimer) translated by John Trevisa, and edited with a continuation by William Caxton. It is a reprint of Wynken de Worde’s 1495 edition with the addition of several woodcuts and omission of the date of Wynken de Worde’s edition at end. Written by the Benedictine monk Ranulf Higden (d. 1364) the Polychronicon “offered to the educated and learned audience of fourteenth-century England a clear and original picture of world history based upon medieval tradition, but with a new interest in antiquity, and with the early history of Britain related as part of the whole” DNB. Higden’s work, divided into 7 books and extending to the year 1348, was originally written in Latin. The English translation is by John de Trevisa, who continued the coverage to 1357. The 8th book was added by William Caxton, whose name appears on R6r, when in 1482 he printed Trevisa’s translation with extensive revisions

“Few of Caxton’s books have excited more interest and research than the ‘Polycronicon.’ It appears to have had its origin with Roger, Monk of St. Werberg, in Chester, who about the beginning of the 14th Century, made an extensive compilation in Latin from several of the old Chronicles and Works on Natural History then in existence. Ralph Higden, of the same monastery, who died before 1360, amplified this compilation, entitling the work, ‘Polychronicon,’ and this, judging from the numerous copies still extant, had a very extended popularity. In 1387, Trevisa, Chaplain to the Earl of Berkeley, translated the Latin of Higden into English prose. … Nearly a century later, Caxton revised the antiquated text of Trevisa, which, together with a continuation of the History to the year 1460, was finished on July 2nd, 1482, and printed soon after. Caxton entitled his continuation ‘Liber ultimus’ and it is most interesting as being the only original work of any magnitude from our Printer’s pen. .. Caxton tells us very little of the sources of his information. He mentions two little works, ‘fasciculus temporum’ and Aureus de universo’, from which, however he certainly obtained but little material for his ‘Liberultimus’ which treats almost entirely of English matters.” William Blades ‘The Life and Typography of William Caxton, England’s First Printer …, Volume 2.’

“It is clear that the English language production was very significant for Caxton. This was probably not because Caxton was more than usually devoted to his native language. There were good economic reasons for his choice. There was an international market for books in Latin, so if Caxton had printed Latin books, he would have been competing with some of the biggest publishers of his time. This would have been difficult to do successfully from England, on the margins of Europe. European printers also produced books in Latin specifically for English use. This demonstrates the strength of European book exports to England. Caxton left to others the production of texts to be used in universities or monasteries throughout Europe. Instead he concentrated on books in English, where there was little competition.When he printed Ranulph Higden’s Polycronicon, in John Trevisa’s translation of 1387, he updated the ‘rude and old englyssh, that is to wete certayn wordes, which in these dayes be neither vsyd ne understanden’ [rude and old English, that is, to wit, certain words which nowadays are neither used nor understood]. Caxton associated old usage with a lower social standing, calling it ‘plain and rude’ and implying that it was suitable for ‘rude’ men. The opposite is called ‘polished’, ‘ornate’, or ‘curious’. He was also acutely aware of regional variations. We saw him referring to his own Kentish background in the preface to his first translation, another theme which recurred at the end of his life.” BL

“Peter Treveris (alternatively known as Peter of Treves), a native of Germany, worked primarily in Southwark, London, closely pursuing his business partnership with Wynkyn de Worde between 1521 and 1533. Treveris published many books for de Worde… Several of his publications can be linked to commissions from patrons such as Robert Wyer and Bishop John Fisher.” Vassar College library. At his workshop in Southwark, he issued some 30-40 books, chief of which, was the present edition of the Polycronicon. Brunschwig’s “Noble Handiwork of Surgery,” the first printing of the influential “Grete Herball,” and John Skelton’s “Magnyfycence,”. “Treveris also shared with Wynkyn de Worde most of the printing of Richard Whittington’s scholastic works.” DNB

The work has most interesting provenance; Willian Hervey was a member of the landed gentry and a member of Parliament under James I. His son “[Thomas] Hervey is said to have ‘ventured his life … in the service of the King and country in the time of Charles I’, but he does not seem to have played a conspicuous part in the Civil War. During the Interregnum he occupied himself with courting his future wife, (Isabella) who was living in Bury St. Edmunds, but it was eight years before he was able to marry her. He was knighted either by Charles II in exile, or soon after the Restoration, and seems to have run the family estate after his father’s death in September 1660, … This responsibility, however, did not prevent Hervey from buying a seat on the navy board from Lord Berkeley of Stratton in 1664 for £3,000. His colleague Samuel Pepys found him ‘a very droll’ drinking companion, but disapproved of his working habits, particularly his absence during the plague. In November 1666 Pepys wrote that he “begins to crow mightily upon his late being at the payment of tickets; but a coxcomb he is and will never be better in the business of the navy.” The History of Parliament. 

ESTC S119426. STC 13440. Pforzheimer 490. Grolier Langland to Wither 121. Steele Eng. Music printing no. 10. Ames 751 “splendid and rather uncommon impression” Lowndes 1067. 



Regimen sanitatis Salerni. The Schoole of Salernes most learned and iuditious Directorie…for the ..health of Man, 

London, Imprinted by Barnard Alsop, to be sold by Iohn Barnes, 1617.


4to. [iv], 207 [i.e. 208], [xii]. A², B-2E⁴, 2F². P. 204-8 misnumbered 196, 197, 177, 206, 207. Black letter, Latin original quotation in Italic, English translation in Roman. Title within double ruled border, large floriated and grotesque woodcut initials and head-pieces, typographical ornaments,  contemporary autograph “Charles Crosse” at head of title and two biblical quotations on health in his hand “A noble and good heart will have consideration of his meate and diet. Eccl. 30. 25.fox” and “By surfet have many perished, but he y.t dieteth himselfe prolongeth his life. 37. 30” on front free endpaper, “Charles Turner Norwich 1827” below, his engraved bookplate on pastedown, partially covered by that of Alfred Edward Alston. Light age yellowing, quire F a little browned, (poorly dried paper). A fine copy, in excellent contemporary limp polished vellum gilt, covers single and double gilt ruled to a panel design, pomegranate fleuron gilt to outer corners, corners of central panel with fine ‘eagle and sun’ gilt stamped corner-pieces, central arabesque gilt, spine triple gilt ruled gilt in compartments with central fleurons, yapp edges, lacking ties, a little rubbed, upper cover slightly chewed at upper and outer edges. 

An excellent copy, beautifully bound in contemporary vellum gilt, of the first edition of the English translation by Philemon Holland, with the original Latin text, of the Regimen sanitatis Salernitatum, which includes a translation by Thomas Paynell of the commentary by Arnaldus de Villanova. “The poem called Salerno Regimen of Health (Regimen sanitatis Salerntanum) was one of the most popular medical texts of the middle ages; in consequence, it survives in many different versions. The basic framework is constant: the dedication to a king of England (sometimes a King of France) prefaces a catalogue of maxims for healthy living, often structured as numbered points with mnemonic clues (for example, five tests for good wine). In practise, however, the Salerno Regimne was highly elastic. Verses could be added or taken out without any perceptible break in continuity, so different copies might vary in length by several hundred lines. The earliest manuscript dates from the thirteenth century; …  (this) version was accompanied by a commentary and circulated in the middle ages together with Arnau of Vilanova’s Regimen for the King of Aragon. The commentary came to be ascribed to Arnau, though it was not by him, and this borrowed authority boosted its popularity. An English version by Thomas Paynell was printed in 1528. [This] translation [appears in] a new edition in 1617 of Paynaell’s translation of the commentary, with a fresh translation of the poem by the industrious Elizabethan physician and ‘translator-general’,’ Philemon Holland (1552-1637). As usual, this revised version of the Regimen was designed for a popular market, but the formal occasion of its publication was the visit of King James I to Holland’s home city of Coventry. The career of the Salerno Regimen illustrates the ironic truth that health advice fo the masses always sells best when packaged as health advice for the elite.” Faith Wallis ‘Medieval Medicine: A Reader’ 

“One work above all others spread the fame of the school—the Regimen Sanitatis, or Flos Medicinae as it is sometimes called, a poem on popular medicine. It is dedicated to Robert of Normandy, who had been treated at Salernum, and the lines begin: “Anglorum regi scripsit schola tota Salerni” It is a hand-book of diet and household medicine, with many shrewd and taking sayings which have passed into popular use, such as “Joy, temperance and repose Slam the door on the doctor’s nose.” Osler ‘The evolution of modern medicine

ESTC S116395. STC 21603. Lowndes 1605. Wellcome I, 5392; cf. Simon BG 1272, 1634 edition


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SARPI, Paolo


Historia del Concilio Tridentino

London, Appresso Giovan. Billio. Regio stampatore, 1619


FIRST EDITION. Folio. pp. [viii], 806, [x]. Roman letter, prefatory material in Italic. Woodcut arms of James I on title, large historiated woodcut initials, ‘Utrecht 1697’ with ms. monogram ‘BA’ at head of first fly, early bibliographical note on verso, ‘Ex Lib: Bibl: Socitas Sig. Reg’ mss. at gutter on title, early shelf mark mss at head of pastedown, later printed shelf mark at side. Light age yellowing, some mostly marginal spotting, heavier in places, a few leaves slightly browned, occasional minor dust soiling at blank upper margin. A very good, crisp copy, with good margins, in contemporary English polished vellum, covers with C19th armorial stamp of the ‘Society of Writers to the Signet’ gilt stamped at centres, title mss at head of spine, yapp edges, modern marbled slip-case. 

First edition of Paolo Sarpi’s greatest and most influential work, dedicated to James I, published pseudonymously with the name Pietro Soave Polano, an anagram of Paolo Sarpi Veneto (plus o). The editor, Marco Antonio de Dominus, polished the text and has been accused of falsifying it, however recent comparison with a manuscript corrected by Sarpi himself shows that his alterations were unimportant. Translations into other languages followed: English by Nathaniel Brent and Latin in 1620, made partly by Adam Newton, and French and German editions. The work was widely read for at least the next two centuries. “Forced upon an unwilling papacy by the Emperor CharlesV, who was anxious to put an end to the dissensions caused by religious strife, the Council (of Trent) first met in 1545. From the beginning however its proceedings were under papal domination, and, so far from effecting a reconciliation with Protestantism, its pronouncements on undecided points of dogma and the bold front it thus put forward, gave its members the new confidence they needed to resist the evangelical threat. No compromise was offered, and when, after numerous delays and evasions designed to frustrate the intentions of the non-Italian members, the Council closed at the end of 1563, an instrument had been placed in the hands of the Papacy which determined the evolution of the Roman Church for the next three centuries, culminating in the pronouncement of the dogma of Papal infallibility in 1877. Only now is some relaxation beginning to take place. The full force of the acts of the council was not lost either on those who desired a reconciliation between the church and the new schismatics or on those who distrusted the centralization of power in Rome. It was both these motives which prompted the Venetian patriot, scientist, scholar and reformer, Paolo Sarpi, to compile his memorable ‘History of the Council of Trent’, which was published pseudonymously in London. A member of the Servite Order, hated yet never excommunicated by the Papal See, Sarpi was the devoted and honored servant of the Venetian Republic. Like the author in his lifetime, so in later years his book formed a nucleus of opposition to the papacy of Pius IV. Translated and reprinted over and over again, the masterpiece of ‘Father Paul of Venice’, as he was known to generations, is still read. Ranke (286) made a minute study of it and of the Papal counterblast by Cardinal Pallavicini and found not much difference between the two in point of impartiality, though he preferred Sarpi in point of style. Only now are the issues debated between the two beginning to recede from the forefront of theological controversy.” Printing and the Mind of Man. The opinion of Le Courayer, that Sarpi “était Catholique en gros et quelque fois Protestant en detail” (that he was Catholic overall and sometimes Protestant in detail) seems not altogether groundless. A very good copy of the first edition of this important work.

STC 21760. ESTC, S116701. Gamba 2080. PMM 118.1199


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TASSO, Torquato

Godfrey of Bulloigne, or The recouerie of Ierusalem. Done into English heroicall verse, by Edward Fairefax Gent.

London, by Ar. Hatfield, for I. Iaggard and M. Lownes, 1600.


FIRST EDITION, first issue. Folio. [viii], 392. A⁴, B-2K⁶, 2L⁴. Roman letter, some Italic. Title within wide typographical border, woodcut head and tail-pieces, typographical ornaments, modern bookplates on pastedown and f.ep. Title a little dusty with small stain in outer blank margin, shelf mark P-38 in early hand, a little dust soiling and minor ink stains in margins of first few leaves, verso of last dusty, the occasional thumb mark or minor stain. A fine, crisp, large paper copy, in handsome C19th dark blue calf by Zaehnsdorf, covers bordered with a triple blind rule, stopped at corners with gilt sun tool, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, richly gilt in compartments with scrolled and pointillé tools, red and tan morocco labels gilt, edges and inner dentelles richly gilt, marbled endpapers, a.e.g.

A remarkable copy, on large paper, of the first edition, first issue, of the hugely popular and influential translation into English by the English poet Fairfax of Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered. Fairfax’s was the first complete translation, though Richard Carew had produced a translation of the first five books “Torquato Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered is one of the great Italian epics, an influential and immensely popular piece. .. There have been many translations of Tasso’s work, new ones continuing to appear at a steady rate…, but to speak of Tasso in English has, for four hundred years, been to speak of Edward Fairfax’s translation. .. The Elizabethan poet Fairfax did not make a great mark with his own verse (little of which survives), but his translation is an acknowledged masterpiece — of sorts. Fairfax’s “translation” is a fairly free one, taking more liberties than most translators care or dare to. There is considerable embellishment of the text, specifically with the addition of nouns and adjectives as Fairfax uses two — or three — words to repeat what Tasso expressed in one. Fairfax remains true to the story, but his language is much more sprightly (and the effect more dramatic — or at least melodramatic) than in Tasso’s original. Usually such translatorial interference does little to enhance a text, but Fairfax was a real poet and his English version, though a stretch as a translation, is an impressive English epic. Fairfax’s imprint was a strong and enduring one, and the reception of Tasso in the English-speaking world has been almost entirely through this rose-coloured version. There are few instances in English in which a single translation has taken so many liberties and yet been so influential. Fairfax follows Tasso’s ottava rima, faithfully preserving the rhyme scheme of the original .. for each stanza. Occasionally it is forced, with some creative word-twisting and occasional coining, but Fairfax proceeds vigorously and often lyrically. He has a poet’s ear for language, and even when he can not comfortably twist the Italian into English the verses are often powerful.” Literary Saloon. 

“Fairfax’s relationship with Tasso’s Liberata is dynamic from the very beginning. Far from trying to mirror Tasso’s words and rhythm, Fairfax simplifies not only syntax and prosody, but also the whole rhetorical texture of Tasso’s epic. David Hume wrote of Fairfax’s achievement that it possessed ‘an elegance and ease, and at the same time [..] an exactness, which for that age are surprising. Each line in the original is faithfully rendered by a correspondent line in the translation.’ – but this judgment does not pass the test of a careful critical examination.” Massimiliano Morini ‘Tudor Translation in Theory and Practice.’

Torquato Tasso (1544–1595) was one of the greatest Italian poets of the late Renaissance, the son of Bernardo Tasso, a poet and courtier. In 1560 he read law in Padua where he met the humanist Sperone Speroni, under whose guidance he studied Aristotle’s “Poetics”. In 1565 Tasso entered the service of the House of Este. While revising his poem “Gerusalemme Liberata”, he developed a persecution mania which caused his incarceration in the hospital of Santa Anna (1579–86).

ESTC S117565. STC 23698. Pforzheimer, 1001. Lowndes. “We do not know a translation in any language that is to be preferred to this, in all the essentials of poetry” Grolier ‘Langland to Wither’ 96. 


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The mathematicall jewell. Shewing the making, and most excellent use of a singuler instrument so called…

London, by Walter Venge, 1585.


FIRST EDITION. Folio. pp. [xii], 124 [par.]⁴ 2[par.]² A-P⁴ Q². Two leaves with full page woodcut illustrations before title, folded table bound in after c4. Roman letter some Italic. Large woodcut of Blagrave’s astrolabe on title, many woodcut illustrations in text, historiated woodcut initials, typographical headpieces, Erwin Tomash’s label on pastedown, early inscription on fep. in seventeenth century hand (see below). Age yellowing, cut a little close in upper margin just touching running headlines on a few leaves, small stain to outer margin of first two leaves causing a little fragility and chipping just touching typographical border of woodcut on second leaf, minor pale waterstaining at edge of t-p, verso of last dusty, lower margins a little dusty in places, rare marginal mark or spot. A very good copy, crisp and on thick paper, completely unsophisticated, stab bound in its original limp vellum, un-sewn with vellum ties stabbed through book block, holes for ties, vellum a little soiled, and creased. 

Very rare first edition of this important work remarkably preserved in its original limp vellum binding. Blagrave was a mathematician, surveyor and instrument maker from Reading. Educated at St. John’s College, Oxford, he never took a degree but returned to Reading, where he lived off the legacy of land left to him by his father. In 1585 he published this, his major work, which ambitiously promised its readers to “leadeth any man practising thereon, the direct pathway (from the first steppe to the last) through the whole Artes of Astronomy, Cosmography, Geography, Topography, Navigation, Longitudes of Regions, Dyalling, Sphericall Triangles, Setting figures, and briefly whatsoever concerneth the Globe or the Sphere”. In practice, the book explained how to make and use a particular kind of navigational instrument: a new kind of astrolabe, which Blagrave named “The Mathematical Jewel”.

“The instrument described is a planispheric astrolabe that had a universal projection modified from the Catholicon of Gemma Frisius—a description of which can be found in the second booke. Blagrave added a movable rete (often found on standard astrolabes but not on the Catholicon), which simplified its use for astronomical calculations. This astrolabe was universal in the sense that it did not require a number of different plates or maters to be used at different latitudes. The instrument is illustrated in a number of full-page engravings serving as frontispieces to the work—engraved by the author according to the title page. This was an expensive instrument to build and consequently was not much used. While this is the only edition of this work, the Jewel was described ten years later in a work by Thomas Blundeville (Exercises, 1622), and instruction in its use was also offered by Robert Hartwell, a London teacher of mathematics, in 1623 (see Waters, David Watkin; Art of navigation, 1958, p. 570). The work is divided into six bookes. The first deals with elementary concepts of astronomy; the second with the design and manufacturing of the jewel; the third with the use of the instrument for both navigation and astronomical calculations; the fourth considers the same material as the third, but the examples and methods of working come from Blagrave’s own research; the fifth is a treatise on spherical triangles; and the last is a work on the use of the jewel in creating sundials of all types. For such a small volume, it is remarkably complete and would have made a very useful reference work even if one did not have a jewel to use. In the fourth book, Blagrave mentions that he had made a jewel two feet in diameter and that he had problems drawing all the arcs on it. He then illustrates a drawing instrument that would suffice in such a situation.” Erwin Tomash collection. Blagrave is known to have made other instruments, in particular a familiar staff, which may have been an instrument for artillerymen.

The work contains a very curious manuscript note on the fly which reads: “Here stands Mr. Gray master of this house. And his poor catt playing with a mouse. John Balgrave marryed this Grayes widdow (She was a Hungerford) this John was symple had yssue by the widdowe. 1 Anthony who marryed Jane Borlafs. 2 John the author of the booke. 3 Alexander the excellent chess player in England. Anthony had Sir John Blagrave knight who caused his teeth to be all drawn out and after had a sett of ivory teeth in agayne.”

An excellent copy of this rare work.

ESTC S373; STC 3119. Tomash & Williams B174 (this copy). Adams & Waters 199; Luborsky & Ingram, English illustrated books 3119. Taylor, Tudor & Stuart 65. Honeyman 343. Not in Houzeau and Lancaster. 


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The Herball or Generall historie of plantes. Gathered by John Gerarde … very much enlarged and amended by Thomas Johnson…

London, Adam Islip, Joice Norton, and Richard Whitakers, 1636.


Folio pp (xl) 1630 [xlviii]. [par.]⁸, 2[par.]-3[par.]⁶, A-B⁸, C-6V⁶, 6X⁴, 6Y-7B⁶. [without first and last blanks]. Roman letter, some Italic, and Black. Historiated woodcut floriated initials, large grotesque head and tail-pieces throughout, typographical ornaments, t.p. beautifully engraved by Io. Payne, with of vases of flowers (including bananas) below, Ceres, Pomona, Theophrastus, Dioscorides, and the author at sides, above and below, in contemporary hand colouring, large woodcut illustrations of plants, herbs, shrubs and trees on almost every page, almost all in good clear impression, about half in attractive contemporary hand colouring, contemporary ms ex libris on verso of last leaf of text of “William Bystrom” with his purchase note smudged, very occasional marginal annotation. Title a little soiled at edges, backed at an early date, very light age yellowing, the occasional marginal spot or thumb mark, rare minor marginal stains, cut a little close but away from text. A very good, clean copy in handsome C18th tree calf, spine with raised bands, gilt ruled in compartments, large ‘spider web’ fleuron gilt at centres, black morocco label gilt, joints a little rubbed. 

A handsome copy of the best edition of Gerard’s seminal herbal with many of the woodcuts in contemporary hand colouring. “The importance of Gerard’s ‘Herball’ in the history of botany is chiefly due to an improved edition, brought out by Thomas Johnson in 1633, thirty-six years after the work was originally published. Johnson was an apothecary in London and cultivated a physic garden on Snow Hill. His first botanical work was a short account of the plants collected by members of the Apothecaries’ Company on an excursion in Kent. This is of interest as being the earliest memoir of that kind published in England…. But it is as the editor of Gerard that he is chiefly remembered. He greatly enlarged the ‘Herball’ and illustrated it with Plantin’s woodcuts. His edition contained an account of no less than 2850 plants. Johnson also corrected numerous errors, and the whole work, transformed by him, rose to a much higher grade of value. It was reprinted, without alteration, in 1636.” Arber, Herbals p.113. “The first edition of Gerard s herbal [1597] held the field without a competitor for more than a generation. It was not until it began to noised abroad that a certain John Parkinson would soon produce a new herbal to take its place, that the successors of Gerard s original publisher were brought to the point of undertaking a second edition. In 1632 they commissioned Thomas Johnson, a well-known London apothecary and botanist to carry out the work, with the proviso that it must be completed within the year. This heavy task Johnson accomplished with marked success, even adding a balanced and comprehensive historical introduction.Johnson s new version was illustrated with a set of 2766 blocks, previously used in the botanical books published by Plantin. The Herball, thus transformed, reached a far higher level than Gerard s own edition” (Arber, Herbals, p. 134).

The success of Gerard’s monumental work was doubtless its appeal to so many different interests. The mère de famille, pharmacist or physician could use it as a pharmacopeia to seek the right palliative or cure; the housewife or cook for its vast knowledge of herbs, plants and vegetables (it contains the first illustration of the Virginian potato), the gardener as his encyclopaedia. Gerard was not a scientist, but he was scholarly, thorough, absorbed in his subject, had correspondents on a national and international scale and a long lifetime’s practical experience; that he was not above including hefty slabs of contemporary folk lore does not detract from the volume’s interest. “When reading Gerard we are wandering in the peace of an Elizabethan garden, with a companion who has a story for every flower and is full of wise philosophies. .. (written in) glorious Elizabethan prose, the folk-lore steeping its pages” Woodward. His combination of learning lightly worn, love of plants and flowers and matchless Elizabethan English has now appealed to four centuries of common, and not so common reader – Shakespeare drew from him his herb lore and William Morris the inspiration for his designs. 

“One of the most significant additions made by Johnson was his chapter on the ‘Maracot’ or ‘Grandilla’ as it was called at the time (actually the passion-flower). He includes a full page illustration (p. 1592) and refers the reader to Monardes for more information on this exotic species. In the long preface Johnson traces the history of the botanical sciences, analysing the contributions of celebrated figures from the mythical King Solomon to William Turner. He closes with some critical remarks on John Gerard and the origins of his herbal.” Tomasi & Willis. ‘An Oak Spring Herbaria.’

ESTC S122175. STC 11752. Wellcome 2754. Lowndes 879. Alden 633/39. “Included are numerous descriptions & illus. of American plants”. Nissen 3580. Henry I 47-54. Rohde pp. 98-119. Bitting 181 “the greatest botanical work of the 16th. century”. Arents 184.


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NORTON, Robert.

The gunner shevving the vvhole practise of artillerie:

London, Printed by A[ugustine] M[athewes] for Humphrey Robinson, 1628.


FIRST EDITION. Folio. pp. [xvi], 100, 99-158, [iv]. first and last leaf blank (last blank torn),33 full and half-page plates. A⁶ B-Y⁴. Roman letter, floriated initials, woodcut initials and headpieces, woodcut ornaments, many woodcut diagrams of mathematical figures, instruments and diagrams in text, title within architectural border of upright cannons (McKerrow and Ferguson 291) just trimmed at fore-edge, 14 double page, 17 single, and 2 folding engraved plates, [lacking plate 7 and one half plate], “Cap Molineux enginer Generall for the Parliment” in contemporary hand on rear fly. Light age yellowing, first blank browned at margins and a little chipped tiny worm trail in lower blank corner of a few leaves, the odd mark or spot. Plate one just trimmed at head, lower portion of plate 14 lacking, plate eight placed upside down. A very good, tall copy, in contemporary English calf, covers bordered with a double blind rule, spine with blind ruled raised bands, rebacked and remounted, slightly later morocco label gilt. a.e.r. 

First edition of Robert Norton’s important work with substantially all of the plates, which are almost always very incomplete, and a very nice copy of a work usually in a very poor state. Norton undertook to provide the English reader and especially gunner “who wants respect and encouragement” with the best continental writings on gunnery, artillery and all sorts of fireworks “for pleasure, triumph and war service”; largely adapted from Uffano’s “Tratado de la artileria”, reusing the splendid de Bry plates produced for that work. The text opens with definitions of terms, such as ‘swiftnesse’, ‘to mount’ and ‘to expell’. Next are the physical requirements of the gun, e.g. “That the superficies of the Columne of the Peece bee perfectly round,” followed by maxims:e.g. “The lighter are more moveable than the heavier.” The section concludes with 67 theorems of general and gun-related science: e.g. “A peece reverseth when it dischargeth”. “The sinewes of the art of artillerie,” including mathematics and its practical applications in calculating numbers of troops, optimal formations and measuring towers etc are discussed, accompanied by numerous woodcut diagrams. 

The main section of the text then addresses the practise of artillery, beginning with a definition. Topics covered are the inventors of guns and gunpowder, the distribution and use of early forms of weaponry in Europe, with their weights and measures included in tabular form, the materials required for the fabrication of various kinds of gun and cannons and potential problems, the construction of moulds for cannons and other weapons with diagrams illustrating the firing power of various guns, techniques and calculations to assure the gunner of a good shot, defend a besieged fortress, make counter-batteries, to tell if powder is suitable to fire, plant mines, transport equipment, and to make ‘ordinary and extraordinary matches’. The work concludes with a chapter on ‘artificiall fireworkes for tryumph and service,’ followed by engraved plates featuring armies, cannons, firing trajectories, calibre gauges, sailors coming into land, elaborate fireworks, and cavalry.

Robert Norton (d.1635) studied engineering and gunnery under John Reynolds, England’s master gunner, later becoming a royal gunner. He published several works on mathematics and artillery, of which this was the last. His works were notable for their scientific explanation of gunnery and that of the mathematical principles on which it relied.

A nice copy, in a good contemporary binding. Both BL copies are incomplete. 

ESTC S115254. [Calls for 27 plates.] STC 18673 (both BL copies incomplete). Cockle 114. Riling 100. Spaulding & Karpinski 116.

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FORCADEL, Éstienne.


Penus iuris civilis, siue De alimentis tractatus…Aviarium iuris civilis…Ardua sapientis cuiusdam Graeci.

Lyon, apud Ioan. Tornaesium, et Guil. Gazeium, 1550.


4to. 3 works in 1, pp. 69 (iii) 50, lacking final blank. Roman letter, little Italic or Greek. Woodcut vignette to t-p, white on black initials. Varying degrees of age browning and slight marginal foxing, light water stain to outer corners, small worm trail to outer blank margin of o3-o4, repaired to p5. A good copy in contemporary limp vellum, traces of ties, ink lettered spine, early illegible autograph to fep and t-p, armorial woodcut stamp to verso of t-p.

Extremely interesting collection of two works on food and animal management regulations, with an appended, brief legal disputation. Étienne Forcadel (1519-78) was professor of law at Toulouse and author of poetic and legal works. The first two works in this collection—‘De alimentis tractatus’ and ‘Aviarium iuris civilis’—exemplify the active C16 interest in Roman law, as filtered by the commentaries of Justinian’s medieval glossators, seeking to reconcile this ancient legal tradition with the customary law regulating the world of landowners and merchants (‘Studies in Roman Law’, 55). ‘Tractatus’ begins with an introduction to the legal concepts of ‘penus’ which meant food and drink that could be stored and consumed by a household. Forcadel discusses key questions quoting theories of ancient jurists: e.g., does ‘penus’ include only food? Does it include drink and if so also wine or other alcoholic beverages? The rest of the work is concerned with very detailed food categorisations, especially types of cereals, wine, oil and salt. Three sections are devoted to wine: each type (e.g., oenomel, sweet, ‘passum’) should have an agreed and controlled denomination and its nature and taste always correspond to those of that denomination. This will make it easier to identify doctored wine unsuitable for selling, either with the addition of vinegar or water. Interestingly, Forcadel divides fruit or produce into ‘naturales’ (e.g., grapes and olives) and ‘industriales’ (e.g., wine and oil), the latter being among the earliest occurrences of the term to mean something which ‘nature alone cannot offer’ without human ‘industria’, seen as productive labour. He also examines types of storerooms and vases for food preservation, and the distribution of provisions in kind to those who cannot afford food. The second work—‘Aviarium iuris civilis’—discusses the laws relating to wild and domestic fowl (e.g., eagles, pheasants, hens and panther-birds) and circumstances of selling (e.g., if one buys a pheasant with chicks, are the chicks included in the price?) and hunting (e.g., can a hunter keep a bird killed in someone else’s property?). There is also a chapter devoted to criminal law, e.g., the stealing of chickens and punishment for letting them run free and escape. The brief appendix presents a legal argument between a Greek and a ‘stultus’ Roman. An unusual and extremely dense volume shedding light onto the complex food and animal-management regulations in the world of early modern farmers and merchants.

Adams F741; Simon 265. Not in BM STC Fr., Bitting, Vicaire, Oberlé or Brunet.


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De institutione arithmetica.

[Augsburg, Erhard Ratdolt, 20 May 1488.]


FIRST EDITION. 4to. 47 unnumbered ff., a-e8 f8, double column. Small woodcut tables and geometrical diagrams throughout, white-on-black decorated initials. Minimal marginal spotting, 7 ms. pages in a near contemporary hand with scientific diagrams and explanatory text in black-brown ink, bound at end, slightly foxed at margins. A very fine, clean, well-margined copy in modern crushed crimson morocco, raised bands, gilt lettered spine, bookplate of Erwin Tomash to front pastedown. In modern slip case.

A very fine, clean, well-margined copy of the first edition of this major work in the history of arithmetic. One of the most influential early Christian philosophers, Severinus Boethius (477-524AD) was a Roman politician at service of Theodoric, King of the Ostrogoths. He probably studied in Athens where he became fluent in Greek and acquainted with important Hellenic philosophers. Imprisoned by Theodoric upon charges of high treason, he famously penned in jail his ‘De Consolatione philosophiae’, a milestone of Western thought. ‘Arithmetica’ was one of his earliest works—an adaptation of the introduction to arithmetic written in Greek by the first-century mathematician Nicomachus of Gerasa. Like Nicomachus, Boethius perceived mathematics and philosophy (imbued with Platonism) as like-minded disciplines interested in abstract ideas and principles. In Boethius’s introduction, arithmetic is introduced as one of the disciplines in the ‘quadrivium’ (with geometry, music and astronomy), a term attributed to Boethius himself which would become the standard continuation of the traditional ‘trivium’ in faculties of arts. ‘Arithmetica’ discusses the substance of numbers, their subdivisions into odd and even, following Pythagoras, and the latter’s subdivisions, positive integers (‘compositi’), perfect numbers (‘perfecti’) as well as ‘an elaborate theory of ratios and […] figurate numbers, such as the triangular, square, pentagonal, and cubic’ (Smith-de Morgan, p. 28). The mathematical terms Latinized by Boethius were current for many centuries and the work was ‘the standard reference book for arithmetic in the West for a millennium’ (Guillaumin, ‘Boethius’s “De Institutione”’, 161). The ms. annotations show geometrical diagrams for calculations of the ‘true position’ of individual planets within the eighth sphere. They appear to be written in the form of exercises, each beginning with ‘ponas’ followed by data allowing the calculation of ellipsis and triangulation: e.g., ‘place in 𝛽 the body of the Sun in that month as shown in the figure of the eighth sphere’, which suggests the figure and its main reference points were provided probably by a teacher. A very fine, fresh copy of this fundamental work.

ISTC ib00828000; Riccardi I/1, 139: ‘prima e rara’; Smith-de Morgan, pp. 25-28; Goff B828. J.-Y. Guillaumin, ‘Boethius’s De Institutione’, in A Companion to Boethius in the Middle Ages, ed. N.H. Kaylor et al. (Leiden, 2012), 135-62.

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