SUPERBLY ILLUSTRATED

Tractatus duo alter de ventis alter perbrevis de terraemotu.

Bologna, apud Giovanni Battista Bellagamba, 1601.

£9,500

FIRST EDITION. Folio. 2 parts in 1, pp. (viii) 163 (xiii). Roman letter, little Italic. Printer’s woodcut device to t-p, 39 full- or half-page engravings of nautical charts (including one world map), buildings and instruments, decorated initials and headpieces. Early inked over ex libris to t-p, lower outer corner of B1 repaired, occasional slight thumbing or foxing to outer margin, a few ll. lightly browned, tiny hole touching one letter on K4, small holes to lower margin of last. A very good copy in contemporary vellum, rebacked, recent eps.

A very good copy of the first edition of this superbly illustrated work on the mechanics of air flow, with a short, appended treatise on earthquakes. Little is known of Fabrizio Padovani (fl. late C16-early C17), a ‘philosophus’ and ‘medicus’ from Forlì. Grounded in the tradition of Aristotelian meteorology, ‘Tractatus de ventis’ examined the physics of winds discussing their names, composition, cause, location in relation to the cardinal points, direction and effects on the weather, navigation, agriculture, architecture and mechanics. The sections on the directions of winds are handsomely illustrated with engraved round charts in fresh impression—in which the latest cartographic developments meet the Renaissance art of scientific engraving—reprising the structure of volvelles used for calculations in astronomical books. The section on the mechanics of air flow illustrates several kinds of air-operated machines including windmills and a steam ‘aeliopile’ called ‘inflator’, attributed to Johannes Anglicus. The second treatise discusses the nature of earthquakes and their causes, providing a final section on key questions including why earthquakes frequently occur at night time and are often followed by eclipses, plague or strong winds. A scarce, surprisingly little-known work on the sciences of meteorology and cosmography.

Riccardi II/1, 230: ‘Bella edizione’; Honeyman VI, 2387. Not in BM STC It. C17, Houzeau & Lancaster or Brunet.

L2951

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