JEAN, Alexandre

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

[Paris], np., 1636 (1637)


FIRST EDITION. 8vo. 2 parts in one volume, engraved throughout. pp. [1], 55, 18. Italic letter. Title with calligraphic ornament, tables within three columns in first part, in four columns in the second part, label of Erwin Thomash on pastedown. Very light age yellowing. A very good, clean copy with excellent fresh and dark impressions of the plates in a contemporary limp vellum binding, yapp edges, re-sewn with thin modern boards, vellum slightly soiled and spotted, folding cloth box.

Rare and charmingly executed didactic manual of commercial arithmetic in two parts all finely engraved. In this first edition the engraved title bears the date of 1636 but has the date 1637 on the colophon of the first part. 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, and a writing book. He died in 1670 at Paris. This work is very finely executed, in the manner of a calligraphic work by a master writer.

This completely engraved work is in two parts. The first part 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).

An extremely rare work. USTC locates only one copy of this first edition at the BNF. A very good copy from the exceptional mathematical library of Erwin Tomash.

USTC 6019531. Erwin Tomash Library J 10 (this copy).
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