CESI, Bernardo

ELEMENTS OF THE EARTH IN EARLY SCIENTIFIC FORMAT

Mineralogia sive naturalis philosophiae thesaurus.

Lyon, Jacques and Pierre Prost, 1636.

£3,750

FIRST EDITION. Folio, pp. (16), 626, (70); Roman and Italic letter, double column; title in red and black with large engraved printer’s device; a little browned and occasionally foxed, small oil splash and water stain at head of first gathering. A good copy in contemporary vellum, a few minor worm holes; title gilt on morocco label on spine, original marbled pastedowns and endpapers, all edges speckled red.

First edition, the first issue with the dedication to Francesco I Este, Duke of Modena, of an influential compendium of mineral knowledge, the first to employ the term minerology. Scion of a noble family of Modena, Bernardo Cesi (1581 – 1630) joined the Jesuits in 1599 and became professor of Theology in Parma and Modena, where he also taught the offspring of the ducal family of Este, including Francesco. An erudite and wide-ranging scholar, he produced several works which remain in manuscript, except for the most important, the Mineralogia, published posthumously from the notes he left in the Jesuit College of Modena.

The text is divided in five books, illustrating: mineralogy in general; grounds, soils and paleontological specimens; petrified liquids (salts, organics); stones and gems (from sapphire to diamond); metals. A comprehensive index guides the reader through this extensive piece of scholarship. Presenting the opinions of a vast number of earlier authorities, Cesi dwells on unusual subjects, such as: artificial fire, use of salts for buildings, statues and remedies for infertility, bitumen as an element for embalming mummies, glass crafting, mirrors and their many applications, olive oil and other animal and vegetables oils, venoms and antidotes, as well as the philosopher’s stone. Of great curiosity is also a whole section devoted to painting (Book 2, Chapter 5), starting from the use of metal powders in colour preparation and then going off topic to include a long philosophical and historical discussion of techniques, famous artists and renowned pieces of art.

The importance of this eclectic and very informative work is illustrated by its presence in Newton’s library (J. Harrison, The Library of Isaac Newton, Cambridge 1978, no. H331, now Trinity College Library, NQ.18.4).

BM STC Fr. 17th, 145; Graesse, II, 11; Sinkakas, 1220; Sommervogel, II, 511; Thorndike, VII, 254-257; Wellcome, I, 1190.

L2175

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DEL MONTE, Guidobaldo

MATHEMATICS IN SERVICE TO EARLY THEORIES OF PHYSICS

In duos Archimedis aequeponderantium libros paraphrasis.

Pesaro, Girolamo Concordia, 1588.

£7,500

FIRST EDITION. Folio, pp. (4), 202, (2). Roman letter; title and text within ruled border, large historiated initials, several woodcut illustrations and diagrams; minor repair to blanks of title, occasional oil splashes, mainly marginal. A very good, well-margined copy in contemporary limp vellum; remains of ties, shelf mark and title inked on spine by contemporary Gothic hand; slightly stained, small loss at foot of spine; early bookcase number on front endpaper verso; a few contemporary marginalia, amending the text according to the final errata.

A fine copy of the first edition of an influential translation of Archimedes with the commentary by Guidobaldo del Monte (1545 – 1607), Galileo’s friend and early patron. Born to a wealthy family from Urbino, Guidobaldo was a soldier, military engineer, astronomer and mathematician. In addition to writing innovative works of applied geometry and physics, he also dwelt on perspective theory and developed mathematical instruments, such as the proportional and elliptical compass. His Liber mechanicorum (1577) is regarded as the greatest work on statics since the Greeks. It employed the mathematically rigorous proofs of Archimedean models in investigating static and mechanical questions. Equally important was this paraphrase of Archimedes’s On the Equilibrium of Planes, which applied geometry to hydrostatics and demonstrated the law of the lever using pure geometry.

Both these works had a profound and lasting impact on the methodology adopted by 16th-century Italian scientists, most notably Galileo: ‘Guidobaldo was … possibly the greatest single influence on the mechanics of Galileo’ (ODSB). In addition to his patronage, Guidobaldo also supported Galileo’s race for the chair of Mathematics at the University of Padua in 1592. Galileo himself, who was sent a copy of the present work, adopted Guidobaldo’s analysis of the lever.

BM STC It., 37; Adams, U6; Graesse, I, 180; Ricciardi, II, 179.

L2050

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LEOPOLD of Austria

ASTRONOMY AS THE BASICS OF ASTROLOGY, AND A MEDIEVAL UNDERSTANDING OF METEOROLOGY

Compilatio … de astrorum scientia decem continentis tractatus.

Venice, per Melchiorem Sessam & Petrum de Rauanis socios, 1520.

£4,500

4to. 94 unnumbered leaves. A-L⁸ M⁶. Gothic letter. One large historiated initial, many fine white on black floriated initials, woodcut of astronomer with celestial sphere on title page, Messsa’s woodcut cat device beneath, numerous woodcut astronomical diagrams and illustrations in text, including two sets of zodiacs, one based on that of the editions of Hyginus, the sphera mundi, celestial figures of the sun, moon, Mercury, Saturn and Jupiter etc. driving various chariots, many repeated, astrological tables of predictions. Light age yellowing, A2 and 7 a little creased and soiled at edges, expertly repaired, closed tear restored in I1, the odd marginal thumb mark or spot. A very good, well margined copy, crisp and clean, in modern olive morocco, covers bordered with a double blind rule, spine with raised bands, double blind ruled in compartments, inner dentelles richly gilt. 

Beautifully printed and finely illustrated second edition of this important and influential astronomy, by the 13th-century astronomer, Leopold of Austria, first printed by Ratdolt, in 1489. Primarily a work of astrology based on the writings of Albumasar, the sixth book concerns meteorology both from a theoretical and a practical point of view, and includes folkloric methods of weather prediction and general descriptions of winds, thunder etc.

Although virtually nothing is known of the author, the work was influential in the late Middle Ages, being cited by the great astronomer, Pierre d’Ailly, and admired by Regiomontanus, who proposed to edit it. This edition retains the dedication to Udalricus de Frundsberg, bishop of Trient, by Erhard Ratdolt, printer of the first. In the introduction Leopold states that he cannot take credit for the work as there was more than one author and he was just a ‘fidelis illorum observator et diligens compilator.’ He states his goal is to describe the motion of the stars, and to focus particularly on describing their effect. He describes astronomy as a necessary starting point and foundation for the study of astrology.

The Compilatio is divided into ten treatises: the first and second on the spheres and their motion. There is a dissertation on the comets at the end of the fifth book, beginning with a short discussion of Aristotle’s theories, which recounts the opinion of John of Damascus (676 – c. 749), who asserts, in his ‘De Fide Orthodoxa,’ that these celestial bodies announce the death of a King, and that they do not belong to the stars created in the beginning, but are formed and dissolved by God’s will. He then gives a list of the nine comets and their latin names, ending with the meanings derived from their presence in each Zodiacal sign. These are a transcription of Albumasar’s ‘De magnis Conjunctionibus.’ A very good copy of this beautifully illustrated and rare edition.

BM STC It. C16th (assigning it to Pencio) p.375. Adams L-516. Sander 3948. Essling 2081. Caillet 6636 (first edition only). Honeyman V 1989. Cantamessa II 4422. “Imponente e importante trattato in 10 libri”. Houzeau-Lancaster 4702 “fort rare”

L2159

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BRUNSCHWIG, Hieronymus

ALCHEMY IN THE SERVICE OF MEDICINE

Liber der arte distulandi simplicia et composita : das nüv bůch d[er] rechte[n] Kunst zů distilliere[n], ouch vo[n] Marsilio Ficino vn[nd] andere[n] hochberömpte[n] Ertzte natürliche vn[nd] gůte Kunst, zů behalte[n] den gesunden Leib vn[nd] zů vertreibe[n] die Krankheiter[n] mit Erlengeru[n]g des Lebe[n]s.

[Strassburg, Johan Grüniger, 1509].

£43,500

Folio. ff. cxxx (i.e. cxl), (lviii) in double column. A⁸, B-D⁶, DD⁶, DDD⁴, E-T⁶, V⁸, X⁴, Y-Z⁶, AA-CC⁶, DD⁴, EE-FF⁶, GG⁸. Gothic letter. First title with two large woodcuts, the other two with half page woodcuts, one double page woodcut, innumerable half page and column width woodcuts, all in fine contemporary hand colouring, capital spaces with guide letters, white on black and floriated woodcut initials. Light age yellowing, slight water staining on lower blank margin of a few leaves, early restoration of three holes to lower blank margin of title, backed at foot, the odd marginal thumb mark or spot. A very good copy, with woodcuts and colouring in wonderful fresh state of preservation, crisp and clean with good margins, in excellent contemporary German calf over wooden boards, covers triple blind ruled to a panel design, middle panel filled with a fine blind scroll of hunting scene of three dear and a huntsman with spear, central panel filled with repeated blind floral scroll, semé of flowers stamped in black, “Distillirrbuch’ stamped in large black Gothic letter in upper panel of front cover, spine with three blind ruled raised bands with blind ‘crown’ fleurons above and below, lacking clasps and catches, small restoration in places, a little rubbed and scratched.

A wonderful copy of this rare and most interesting compilation, beautifully illustrated and vividly coloured in a contemporary hand, preserved in a fine contemporary binding. It is a pharmaceutical and alchemical collection first published in 1505 under the title ‘Medicinarius. Das Buch der Gesundheit’ and including books I and II of Brunschwig’s ‘Liber de arte distillandi de simplicibus,’ also called ‘Kleines Destillierbuch; Ficino’s Das Buch des Lebens,’ translated by Johannes Adelphus; and a treatise on compounds by a Strassburg master, Konrad.

Hieronymus Brunschwig (c. 1450 – c. 1512) was a German physician, surgeon, chemist, and pharmacologist whose ‘Liber de arte distillandi simplicia et composita’ (‘Little Book of Distillation’), was the first book to systematically describe essential oils, their distillation and extraction from plants, and their medicinal applications. The wonderful hand-coloured woodcuts show detailed instructions on the distillation process. The first part of the treatise describes the methods and apparati for the distillation of extracts from various plants and animals. The second part describes certain medicinal plants, and the third part contains an exhaustive list of maladies along with a corresponding list of plant distillates and extracts recommended.

“Because of their completeness Brunschwig’s compilations of the technical terms adaptable to pharmacy in the early sixteenth century and his records of his experience in the treatment of gunshot wounds and in surgery are noteworthy accomplishments. Even if they are not the first of their kind, they still represent an important link between the Middle Ages and modern times.” (DSB I, p. 547) The work is most beautifully and interestingly illustrated including vivid images of gardens and banquets. “With detailed instructions, ranging from the right times to collect herbs to the exact specifications for constructing distillation equipment, Brunschwig hoped to make medicinal alchemy accessible to ‘the common people that dwell far from medicines and physicians and for them that not be able to pay for costly medicines,’ he wrote.” Cristina Luiggi ‘Medicinal Alchemy, circa 1512.’

Marsilio Ficino (1433 – 99) was one of the leading intellectuals in Florence, a magnet for the most brilliant scholars of fifteenth-century Europe. His ‘De vita’ is a curious amalgam of philosophy, medicine, ‘natural magic’ and astrology, and is possibly the first book ever written about the health of the intellectual and its peculiar concerns. It includes astrological charts and remedies, philosophical digressions, medieval prescriptions for various ills, attempts at reconciling the Neoplatonism of Plotinus with Christian scripture, and magical remedies and talismans.

“The work that Ficino composed alongside his commentaries on Plotinus, his influential astral-medical treatise, ‘De vita libri tres,’ or ‘Three books on life,’ published in 1489 … is listed is Borel’s ‘Bibliotheca Chimica’ as another of Ficino’s alchemical works.  … One of the most revealing examples of how Ficino’s de Vita was assimilated into the alchemical tradition can be found in the translation of the first two books as ‘Das Buch des Lebens’ in 1505 by the Strasbourg physician and humanist Johannes Adelphus Muling. The German version was re-edited several times and printed together with editions of two of the most highly regarded works on distillation. One of these was Hieronymous Braunschweig’s ‘De arte distillandi’ and anyone familiar with the 1500 title page of Braunschweig’s much reprinted work will notice how it has been adopted by the publisher of the 1505 edition as an illustration for Ficino’s text.” Peter J. Forshaw. ‘Laus Platonici Philosophi: Marsilio Ficino and His Influence.’

Unfortunately, we have not been able to identify the binder from the tools, though the Einbanddatenbank has other tools with very similar hunting scrolls. Interestingly, the copy illustrated at the Bayerische StaatsBibliothek, BSB Call Nr.: Res/2 M.med. 35 has the same title blind-stamped on its binding, suggesting that this was probably the production of the same binder, or probably the publishers binding. A beautiful copy with the colouring absolutely fresh and clean.

Wellcome 1113. Not in BM STC Ger. C16th, Osler, Durling or Duveen.

K55

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BELON, Pierre

ADVANCEMENTS IN ICHTHYOLOGY, WITH CONTEMPORARY HAND COLOURING

De aquatilibus, libri duo cum [epsilon, iota] conibus ad viuam ipsorum effigiem, quoad eius fieri potuit, expressis.

Paris, Caroloum Stephanum, 1553.

£7,500

FIRST EDITION. Oblong 8vo. pp. (xxxii), 448. a-b⁸, A-2E⁸. Roman letter, some Greek and Italic. 185 woodcuts in text most full page, almost all with contemporary hand colouring, early inscription crossed out at head of title page, “Sarthe, Le Mans, Pierre Belon a né au Le Mans en 15..,” in later hand on fly, early French inscription on the rear endpaper, “ex-libris C. Dupres,” with acquisition note from Paris with price, and bibliographical note “rare Citté dans debure.’ Title page a little dusty, light age yellowing with some minor spotting, the odd thumb mark and marginal splash or spot, minor dust soiling in places, cut a little close, just touching running headlines in places, and woodcut of the hammer-head shark in lower margin (as in the Harvard copy). A good copy, with excellent contemporary hand colouring, in early C18th cats paw calf, re-backed, spine re-mounted, all edges red.

First edition of Belon’s marvellously illustrated work on fish, molluscs and aquatic mammals, entirely coloured in a contemporary hand. Its appearance constituted the greatest single advance in the scientific study and classification of fish since Aristotle. This work, together with those of Belon’s contemporaries Rondolet and Salviani, remained standard texts for the study of fish well into the 17th century. The colouring in this copy is identical to that at Harvard, showing that this was the publisher’s colouring made for luxurious copies.

Physician, polymath, traveller, artist, and naturalist, Pierre Belon (1517 – 1564) was most famously a founding protagonist for the phenomenon of homology in comparative anatomy. He obtained his medical degree at the University of Paris and, under the patronage of Francois I, was sent on diplomatic missions abroad, which allowed him to study the wildlife of the eastern Mediterranean. Starting in 1546, he travelled through Greece, Asia Minor, Egypt, Arabia, and Palestine, and returned in 1549. A full account of his travels, with illustrations, was published in 1553. Belon, who was highly favoured both by Henri II and by Charles IX, was murdered by persons unknown in Paris one evening in April 1564, when coming through the Bois de Boulogne.

“Belon’s de acquatilibus has 110 drawings of fish: 22 cartilaginous fish, 71 marine and bony fish, and 17 freshwater bony fish. The book also included Cetacea, seals hippopotamus, beaver and otter… his were probably the first published drawings of fish, less skilful than those of Rondelet and Salviani, yet Belon had valuable knowledge of eastern Mediterranean fish unknown to them.” Frank N. Egerton ‘Roots of Ecology: Antiquity to Haeckel.’ Belon’s woodcuts are particularly charming: “The figures representing them are easily recognizable, not-withstanding the simplicity of the style of the wood-engravings. His philosophical mind had a very correct appreciation of the genera. His groupings were made with a surprisingly just instinct. To an indefatigable activity he joined vast erudition. He brought to the front the study of nature and of the books that treat of it… The feature that especially prepared new bases for the science of fishes was his observations on the thoracic and abdominal splanchnology of those animals.” Popular Science Monthly, Volume 34.

Belon’s ‘De aquatilibus,’ and his later ‘L’Histoire de la nature des oyseaux’ (1555) entitle him to be regarded as one of the first workers in the science of comparative anatomy. Copies in contemporary hand colouring have always been significantly rarer that ordinary copies.

BM STC Fr. C16th p. 46. Adams B-554, Brunet I:761, Nissen ZBI 302, Pinon Livres de zoologie de la Renaissance 17. Not in Mortimer.

L2206

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LACINIUS, Janus

THE SEARCH FOR THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE, IN HANDSOME MANUSCRIPT BINDING

Praeciosa ac nobilissima artis chymiae collectanea.

Nuremberg, Gabriel Hain, 1554.

£4,950

FIRST EDITION. 4to, ff. (8), 124. Roman letter; printer’s device on title, large historiated initials and full-page alchemical illustration; a few leaves lightly browned. A very good, wide-margined copy bound with folded fifteenth-century German manuscript leaf on vellum of liturgical music over eighteenth-century boards; black and red text of various Psalms with music sheet and two red and blue decorated initials; slightly rubbed on spine, a couple of small stains to rear cover, corners a bit bumped and chipped; on front endpaper, seventeenth-century owner’s inscription ‘Cathena,’ tiny old bookseller’s stamp on front pastedown and modern pencil shelf marks on front endpaper and title versos.

Fine copy of the rare first edition of a fundamental text on alchemy. Janus Lacinius, probably a humanist pseudonym, is thought to be Giovanni da Crotone, a Franciscan friar from Calabria. This German edition was considered for a long time a reprint of another alchemical collection by Lacinius, published by the Aldine press in Venice in 1546 (Pretiosa Margarita Novella de Thesauro); however, despite the similarity in the titles, the contents are substantially different, and this Praeciosa collectanea is now correctly regarded as a first edition.

In this book, Lacinius provides a detailed overview of the vast world of alchemy, describing in particular how to obtain the philosophers’ stone through many stages of metal refinement. The large initial woodcut depicts a sort of an outdoor laboratory, with a scholar handling a huge vessel, and a massive circular furnace crackling behind him.

The printer’s dedication presents alchemy as a useful and Christian discipline, and addresses Anton Fugger’s nephews, Johann (Hans) Jakob (1516 – 1575) and Georg (1518 – 1569). Their renowned book collections are extensively praised and hailed as unparalleled venues for the preservation and transmission of knowledge, where a book like Lacinius’ must not be missed. Hans Jakob Fugger was one of the greatest collectors of his time, gathering some 12,000 volumes, mostly provided with fine luxurious bindings and including the collection of Hartmann Schedel, the author of the Nuremberg Chronicle. In 1571, the bulk of Hans Jakob’s books was purchased by the Duke of Bavaria and is now held in the Bavarian State Library. The library assembled by Georg Fugger, less known and extensive, was nevertheless very rich in mathematical, astronomical, astrological, and other scientific works.

Rare. Not in Adams, Brunet or Caillet.

BM STC Ger., 480; Duveen, 332; Ferguson, II, 3;Graesse, IV, 63; VD16, L34; Wellcome, 3608.

L2163

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LIBAVIUS, Andreas

ALCHEMICAL TREATISE CONTAINING THE FIRST CHEMISTRY TEXTBOOK

Alchymia recognita, emendata, et aucta (incl. Commentarii).

Frankfurt, Johannes Saur for Peter Kopff, 1506 (i.e. 1606). (with)

—. Syntagma selectorum alchymiae arcanorum.

Frankfurt, Nikolaus Hoffmann for Peter Kopff, 1611. (and)

—. Syntagmatis arcanorum chymicorum… tomus secundus.

Frankfurt, Nikolaus Hoffmann for Peter Kopff, 1613. (and)

—. Appendix necessaria syntagmatis (incl. Examen Philosophiae and Analysis confessionis fraternitatis de rosea cruce).

Frankfurt, Nikolaus Hoffmann for Peter Kopff, 1615.

£7,500 

FIRST COLLECTED EDITION. Folio. Six works in two volumes: I) pp. (20), 196, (22), 402, 192, (12); II) pp. (12), 480, (8); III) pp. (12), 453, (15); IV) pp. (12), 279, (13); V) 306, (12); VI) 28, (2). Predominantly Roman letter, little Italic, Greek and Gothic; three main engraved titles with the same architectural border by G. Keller, ‘1605’, including five vignettes depicting alchemical experiments, Galen and Aristotle standing with alchemical equipment surmounted by Hippocrates and Hermes praying to Hebrew ‘name’ for God, and angels at side; printer’s device with Ganymede’s abduction on all titles, larger on half- and at end of IV); initials and head- and tail-pieces, mostly grotesque, numerous illustrations of alchemical tools, equipment and processes, occasionally full page; lightly browned in a few places, very occasional rust spots and light damp stains, mainly marginal; small repairs at foot of first title, clean tear to NN2 in first volume, oxidised (contemporary?) fly on Aar of second volume. A very good, well-margined copy in contemporary vellum, contemporary manuscript titles on spines, remains of original green silk ties; slight wear; sporadic contemporary underlining; early price note and shelf mark at chipped head of front endpaper, stamp of the Austro-Italian noble family Colloredo on the first title of each volume.

Rare, first and most complete two-volume edition of influential alchemical works, partially published in 1597. Andreas Libavius (1550-1616) was a prominent chemist, logician and physician, teaching in the best German universities of his time. In his numerous works, he tried to disprove the occult and mystical aspects of alchemy, and turn it into a more scientific discipline, but without abandoning basic alchemical notions such as the transmutation of metals. In contemporary academic debates, he usually took the Aristotelian viewpoint against Paracelsus and other Renaissance naturalists, pioneering an analytical approach to alchemy/ chemistry.

Alchymia, the pivotal work of this collection, is regarded as the first modern chemistry textbook. It exerted a considerable influence over the seventeenth-century French school, which developed further his ideas and thorough methodology. The illustrations play an important part in the enduring success of the book, depicting a vast number of chemical instruments, from vessels to furnaces, as well as a chemical laboratory. Among the many topics dealt with by Libavius, those concerning mineral water and the philosophers’ stone – the latter with lavish full-page illustrations – are particularly remarkable. The final poignant pamphlet is directed against Rosicrucianism, one of the first attacks on this mystic-philosophical secret society founded between 1607 and 1616.

‘[Alchymia] is considered the greatest and most beautiful (because of the numerous illustrations) of all books on chemistry in the seventeenth century. […] Libavius can be ranked as a first-rate chemist on the basis of those parts of the book that can be considered truly chemical’ DSB VIII, pp. 310-311.

BM STC 17th Germ., L655, 664-665; VD17, 39:125360T, 39:125409C, 39:125443H, 39:125448W; Ferguson, II, 31-34; Duveen, 357 (Alchymia); Mellon, 71 (Appendix); Caillet, 6659, 6661 (Analysus and Examen, both considered ‘ouvrage très rare’); Thorndike, VI, 238, 242-243.

L2164

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KEPLER, Johannes

A SCIENTIFIC EXPOSITION OF THE SUPERNOVA IN FIRST EDITION, EARLIEST PRINT

De stella nova … De stella tertii honoris in cygno … De Jesu Christi servatoris nostri vero anno natalitio.

Prague and Frankfurt, Pavel Sessius and Wolfgang Richter, 1606.

£42,500

FIRST EDITION. 4to, four parts in one volume, pp. (12), 212, 35, (5), wanting final blank. Predominantly Roman letter, little Italic and Greek; four separate title-pages, woodcut printer’s device on first, neat double-page engraved plate and several diagrams; very light browning throughout, small damp and rust stain to margins of very few leaves. A good copy in early nineteenth-century calf, gilt panel and blind-tooled roll of interlacing flowers, all edges red, corners slightly chipped. Contemporary inscriptions on front fly, including title, author owner’s inscription ‘John M ….’ in an English hand written over, early monogram ‘H G’ on head of title.

First edition of Kepler’s detailed essays describing the supernova which appeared at the foot of the constellation Ophiucus in 1604. Johann Kepler (1571-1630) is one of the most important modern astronomers and mathematicians, along with his teacher Tycho Brahe and Galileo Galileo. Working at the court of the Emperor Rudolph II in Prague, he was able to improve the refracting telescope and formulate the fundamental laws of planetary motion correcting Copernicus. This invaluable account provides information on the supernova’s colour, brightness, distance to the earth as well as other events related to this still unsolved astronomical phenomenon announcing the death of a star. The supernova was the last to be seen in the Milky Way and was named after Kepler in the 1940s.

Its appearance revived the debate among scholars on whether the incorruptibility of the cosmos established by Aristotle was valid or not. For instance, Galileo delivered a lecture on the supernova, considering it as disproof of the Aristotelian theory. In 1604, Kepler was observing the conjunction of Jupiter with Saturn, an event which he calculated to happen exactly every 800 years. On October 10, Kepler witnessed the supernova and assumed the two phenomena were related. While working on his scientific description, he came across the essay of the Polish astronomer Laurence Suslyga, who had argued that Christ had been born in 4 BC on the basis of other celestial calculations. On this account, Kepler concluded that 1600 years earlier (i.e. 4 BC) the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction had provoked another supernova, which had been recorded in the Gospel and it is known as the Christmas Star or Star of Bethlehem. Such a theory is set out in the fourth part of this remarkable collection of treatises.

This editio princeps has two variants, depending on the presence of the imprint ‘impensis Authoris’ in the main title. Although a definitive priority has not been established, Kepler’s letters seem to suggest that the present title page is the earlier. Kepler was probably dissatisfied with the quality of this first print-run and paid for another. The presentation copy to James I in British Library was from the second printing.

Graesse, IV, 11; Caspar, 27; Cantamessa, 2289; Cinti, 17; Houzeau & Lancaster, 2843; Zinner, 4097; DSB: ‘A monument of its time.’

K26

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BACON, Francis

De Augmentis Scientiarum.

Amsterdam, Johannis Ravestemius, 1662.

£150

12mo. pp. (xx) 607, (LXVIII). Roman lettter, finely engraved title page, early manuscript ‘Liber R. Harby’ at head and Mich: Batt a. aR on inner rear board. Light age yellowing, good copy in contemporary calf, re-backed, spine re-mounted, corner repairs.

Gibson 135.

G47

BACON, Francis

De augmentis scientiarum libri.

Leiden, Adrian Wijngaerden, 1652.

£2,750

12mo. pp. (x) 684, (lx), lacking final two blanks. Roman and Italic letter, engraved title page depicting Bacon reading a folio volume with a wildly dressed figure holding a volume and representing the Book of Nature. Age yellowing, upper margin of first few gatherings cropped closely but with no loss, contemporary manuscript biographical note added to fly, ascribed to Thomas Fairfax (1693-1781), George Washington’s friend, patron and mentor, whose ex libris appears in pencil above, in C1800 polished calf by J.J. Cowling of Barnet (label on pastedown), with red morocco label on spine, with title and compartments gilt, all edges speckled blue.

Gibson 133.

B36