GALLUCCI, Giovanni Paolo


Theatrum mundi, et temporis.

Venice, Giovanni Battista Somasco, 1588.


FIRST EDITION. 4to, pp. (16), 478, plus additional leaf after Mmiv and final folded table, final gathering misbound; decorated initials and tail-pieces, printer’s device on title; 144 astronomical illustrations, of which 31 (out of 51) with volvelles, very few skilfully restored with possible integrations from another exemplar; light foxing and little stains to margins in places. A good copy in contemporary vellum, early title inked to spine; couple of minor stains to front, spine chipped at tail; eighteenth-century Italian ms filling verso of title and other blank portions of text; early ink stamp of private library with crowned monogram ‘EME’ on title and verso of last leaf.

First issue of the princeps of this beautifully illustrated book, commonly regarded as the most charming celestial atlas of the sixteenth century. This copy also retains the additional folded table ‘Canon sexagenarius’ at the end. Giovanni Paolo Gallucci (1538 – c. 1621) was a well-known private teacher to the Venetian nobility and founding member of the Second Venetian Academy. For all his life, Gallucci engaged greatly with the Venetian printing industry: he edited a collection of astronomical medical essays including writings of Marsilio Ficino, published many works on astronomical and time-measurement equipment and translated into Italian Peckham’s essay on perspective, Dürer’s treatises on body symmetry and Acosta’s history of the New World. His most successful work, however, was certainly the Theatrum Mundi, a vast survey on terrestrial and celestial physics. It provides almost 150 maps for measurements, each accompanied by a Biblical quotation.

The work is dedicated to pope Sixtus (1585-1590), who had just banned all astrological literature since 1586. Although Gallucci could not resist to touch on some astrological implications of constellations, he questioned their alleged influence over human health and fate and pioneeringly tried to draw up a pure astronomical treatise. In his numerous diagrams and maps, Gallucci combined a coordinate system with a trapezoidal system of projection for an accurate determination of the star and zodiacal positions. Alongside the extraordinarily ingenious volvelle illustrations forming the first four books of Theatrum Mundi, there are depictions of Hell and its circles as inner portions of the Earth, the New World hemisphere and the wind rose, as well as calculators for tides and daytime at every longitude and latitude. Book 5 presents 48 maps of the Ptolemaic constellations and the related mythological illustrations. The star positions were taken from Copernicus’s catalogue.

‘Somasco printed blocks for division into small squares of woodcut ornament (a few with grotesque faces) to be pasted on the verso of the leaf over the string by which the separate pieces were attached. He left space for these squares in setting the text. On the verso of leaf Ooo4 are instructions to the bookseller, printed first in Latin and repeated in Italian. They state that the four leaves of separate illustrations were not to be bound in the book but should be cut apart and the pieces attached to the appropriate illustration [with silk thread] … the illustration on leaf Qir had six different version of one part; the one to be attached depended on the place in which the book was to be used.’ Mortimer, Italian Sixteenth Century Books, I, p. 298.

Rare. Only three copies recorded in the US (two in Harvard, one in Rochester).

BM STC It., 288; Adams, G 168; Graesse, III, 19; Mortimer It., 206; Riccardi, I, 568 (‘Raro … molto importante’); Cantamessa, 1682; Houzeau-Lancaster, 2725 (‘Rare’); Thorndike, VI, 158-159; Alden, 588/33.


Print This Item Print This Item


L’Isole piu famose del Mondo.

Venice, Simon Galignani & Girolamo Porro, 1572.


FIRST EDITION folio, pp. (xxiv) 117 (i). Roman letter, italic sidenotes, large naturalistic woodcut initials and headpieces. Very fine engraved architectural border to t-p incorporating figures, putti, armillary sphere and globes and scientific book and symbols, printer’s woodcut device on verso of last. Thirty highly detailed half-page maps by Girolamo Porro of islands and continents, with excellent contrast and impression. A very good, large copy on thick paper, a little soiling to a few margins, occasional water stain at blank corner, the odd spot and thumb mark.; unsophisticated and unwashed. In contemp. limp vellum, C19 armorial bookplate of Robert Chambers on front pastedown, earlier ms pressmark above, later bookplates to feps.

Rare first edition of the most celebrated book of islands, by the Italian scholar Thomaso Porcacchi, beautifully illustrated with the delicate engraved maps and plans, one for each place, of Girolamo Porro, who also produced the maps for Ruscelli’s translation of Ptolemy’s Geographia in 1574. The first 15 illustrations begin with Venice and her surrounds, then pass from east to west through the Mediterranean, from Corfu, Crete and Cyprus via Rhodes, Sicily and Malta, to Corsica, Elba and the Balearics. The next six are from Northern Europe, the British Isles, Scotland, Ireland, the Frisian islands, Iceland and Gotland. Across the Atlantic are Hispanola, (with a lengthy account of the arrival of Columbus), Cuba and St Lawrence, the islands ending with Ceylon and the Moluccas. The last four illustrations comprise a remarkably important and detailed map of North America, a smaller version of Forlani’s, and the first depicting that landmass as a single continental entity; it is also the first printing of the first atlas map of North America, followed by a detailed plan of Mexico city at the time of the Spanish conquest. The last two are very attractive and complete world maps, the second specifically designed for the use of navigators. Each of the illustrations is accompanied by a few pages of topographical and geographical description of the subject matter, including principal places, physical features, climate, customs and produce. The Isole is interesting both as a fine example of the most elegant Italian cartography but also as one of the most sophisticated responses to the increasing demand for reliable information about far away places.

BM STC It. p. 534. Sabin XV 64148. Alden 572/44. JFB p.360 “a popular island book.” Palau XIV 232891. Not in Mortimer.


Print This Item Print This Item

MAGINI, Giovanni Antonio



Bologna, impensis Auctoris, 1620 (1632).


Folio, pp. (x) 24, 61 engraved maps (59 double page, 2 single). Italic letter, text within printed double-rule borders, engraved architectural title page by Oliviero Gatti, depicting allegorical figures of the sciences with instruments and globe within typographical border, early case number at head, full page medallion portrait of the author dated 1632. Light water stain to earlier maps around centrefold, else a fine, large and thick paper copy, the maps in admirable, very clear impressions. In contemporary French calf, triple panels with ornamental cornerpieces to corners, all gilt, spine in eight compartments gilt (small repair at tail), edges speckled red, early paper labels ‘F’ and ‘Italie’ on upper cover.

A handsome, very well margined copy of the second edition of the premier early Italian atlas, which dominated Italian cartography for at least the next half century. Most of the main C17 cartographers, including the Dutch compiler-editors, followed, copied, or incorporated Magni’s regional maps. Ortelius, with whom Magini corresponded, Brahe, Kepler, and Blaeu are among the illustrious names who used some of his maps.

Magini (1555-1617), Paduan astronomer, astrologer, cartographer, and mathematician, studied at Bologna, and was famously appointed to the chair of Mathematics there in preference to Galileo. His chef d’oeuvre however was the present atlas, designed to include a detailed map of every region of Italy with exact nomenclature and historical notes. Began in 1594, it soon proved ruinously expensive and Magini assumed the posts of astrologer to Vincenzo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, and tutor to his sons to pay for it. The Duke Ferdinando, to whom the atlas is dedicated, provided assistance for the project and allowed for maps of the various Italian states to be brought to Mantua. The governing authorities of Messina and Genoa also helped financially.

Magini was not an engraver and had considerable problems from the mid-1590s onwards in keeping the service of those, such as the Dutch Arnold brothers, who were. Eventually, he engaged the Englishman Benjamin Wright who completed the series in between his habitual bouts of drunkenness. The process took so long that Magini did not live to see its completion and the atlas was eventually published by his son Fabio, after a good deal of further revision. The result, according to Almagia (cit. inf.) eliminated numerous earlier errors in longitude and latitude, accurately indicated political boundaries and physical features, and added numerous topographical names.

See Almagia, Bibliographico Note to the Facsimile of Magini’s Italia, Shirley BL T., MAG 1c.


Print This Item Print This Item

HAKLUYT, Richard


The principall navigations, voiages and discoveries of the English nation, made by Sea or over Land.

London, George Bishop and Ralph Newberie, 1589.


FIRST EDITION. Folio, pp (xvi) plus folding map, 1-501 (1), 506-643 (xii), Drake’s voyage 644-825 (x). Black letter, some Roman and Italic. Large engraved folding world map after Abraham Ortelius in very good impression, mounted on guard, small repairs to inner border, upper outer corner slightly shaved rounding clouds, very minor repair to verso of one fold. Large, attractive woodcut initials and headpieces. Upper blank margin of title page restored, that and next neatly repaired at gutter, also blank margins of last two leaves of table. A good, clean, crisp copy in handsome calf antique, gilt ornaments to spine and corners, all edges gilt.

First edition, of ‘the most complete collection of voyages and discoveries, by land as well as by sea, and of the nautical achievements of the Elizabethans’ (PMM 105 of the second edition) with the very frequently missing world map and the rare account of Sir Francis Drake’s Circumnavigation (1577-80), as well as Sir Jerome Bowes’ voyage to Muscovy in the cancel setting (corrected state). Hakluyt, although not an explorer himself, produced the most significant compilation of voyages of his day: “it is not only an epic of English prose but a unique source of reference to the great discoveries of the 15th and 16th centuries” (National Maritime Museum Catalogue). The work was remarkable in that it not only inspired many of the mercantile and exploratory voyages of later Elizabethan and Jacobean England but was actually used by those venturers in planning and executing their attempts, especially to North America, Russia, and the Far East.

‘The arrangement is both chronological and regional, with personal reports by explorers and navigators, merchants and diplomats, the reproduction of documents, sailing direction etc. Book I covers the voyages to North and North-East, Book II South and South-East, and Book III America.’ (PMM p.63). Hakluyt was a gifted geographer and linguist, “one of the leading spirits in the Elizabethan maritime expansion” (PMM) and had met the foremost explorers of the age such as Drake, Raleigh, Gilbert and Frobisher, and corresponded with Ortelius and Mercator. With remarkable foresight, he saw America and India as key territories for the extension of British colonies and pleaded for an expansion of English interests there. He was a consultant to the East India Company and a patentee of that for Virginia.

The present work includes a number of important voyages to the Americas, among them Verazzano’s to Florida, Ulloa’s and Alarcon’s to California, Tomson’s to New Mexico, Drake’s to the West Indies, the Virginia Settlement Voyages of 1585 and later, as well as voyages to Russia and Africa (including the first voyage to Benin). The account of Drake’s Circumnavigation was first published here, and includes his explorations around the Californian coast. Hakluyt initially suppressed it, privately printing the six-page account and inserting it (without pagination, as here) into some copies of the first edition.

“Hakluyt had indeed begun to prepare such an account [of Drake’s Circumnavigation] but withdrew it so as not to prejudice a collection of Drake’s voyages which was in preparation. Permission now came to insert it, not improbably from Drake himself” (Hakluyt Handbook, p. 475). He placed a high premium on the accuracy of his work, and the first setting of the Bowes voyage to Muscovy was suppressed on account of its errors. It is only in some copies (as here) that it is replaced. The impressive folding map, which Hakluyt tells us is “one of the best general mappes of the world” is based on several Ortelius maps, the central oval taken from his third World Map of 1587 (Hinde I, p. 179).

STC 12625; National Maritime Museum Catalogue (2nd edition) I, p.5; Sabin 29593 “It is scarcely necessary to suggest that the addition of the original version of…Drake’s Voyages add greatly to the value of any copy of the work in which they happen to be”; James Ford Bell Library, H9; Alden 589/31; Lowndes III p. 971; “The most complete collection of voyages and discoveries, by land as well as by sea, and of the nautical achievements of the Elizabethans,” Printing and the Mind of Man, 105 (second edition); cf. D. B. Quinn (ed.). The Hakluyt Handbook, The Hakluyt Society: 1974.


Print This Item Print This Item