JEAN, Alexandre

JEAN, Alexandre Arithmetique au miroir. Par laquelle on peut (en quatre vaccations de demie heure chacune) practiquer les plus belles regles d’icelle.

[Paris], np., 1649


FIRST EDITION thus. 8vo. 3 parts in one volume, part 2 and 3 engraved throughout. pp. 15, [1]; [1], 55; 18. Italic letter. First title with small woodcut ornament second title with calligraphic ornament, small woodcut initial and typographical ornaments, engraved tables within three columns in first part, in four columns in the second, label of Erwin Thomash on pastedown. Very light age yellowing. A fine copy, crisp and clean, with excellent fresh and dark impressions of the plates in contemporary limp vellum, vellum slightly stained, folding cloth box.

Rare and charmingly executed didactic manual of commercial arithmetic in three parts; in this second edition Jean added a printed explanation of the working of the tables. The engraved title of the second part still bears the date of 1636 as it was probably made using sheets left over from the first edition, or the plates were reprinted from the original, without changing the dates. Alexandre Jean was a master writer and master of French arithmetic, born in about 1580, he was accepted, in 1609, in the “Communauté des maîtres écrivains jurés” or the Company of master writers or calligraphers. He was renowned for making use of the the feather pen, with which he used to execute ornaments with thick lines in his calligraphy. He was a very good the example of those master writers who were also active in teaching and accounting, and he published several methods of arithmetic. He died in 1670 at Paris. This work is very finely executed, in the manner of a calligraphic work by a master writer.

In this second edition of the ready reckoner, a letterpress title page and introduction have been added to the engraved tables. The original engraved title page remains bound in after the introductory material. The work is a ready reckoner for the price of goods in multiples (from 1 to 20,000), and the second is a similar table for fractional amounts (if one unit costs 8 francs, then a half will cost 4 francs, etc.). Part 1 has an engraved title page bearing the date 1636, with the colophon dated 1637. There are also a few small tables of other items (squares etc.). All the tables are beautifully engraved, and many show the figures in what appear to be apothecary jars, palm leaves, etc. It is possible that the tables in part 2 actually represent the value of various measures of cloth as their heading (Fractions de Laune) can be interpreted as La’une (one) or L’aune (ells—of cloth).

A rare work. USTC locates four copies of this enlarged edition. A very good copy from the exceptional mathematical library of Erwin Tomash.

USTC 6006709. Erwin Tomash Library J 11 (this copy).
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