GALILEI, Galileo


Istoria e dimostrazioni intorno alle macchie solari e loro accidenti… Si aggiungono nel fine le Lettere, e Disquisizioni del finto Apelle.

Rome, Giacomo Mascardi, 1613.


4to, pp. (4), 164, 55, (1), plus folded table. Roman letter, little Italic; device of the Lincei Academy on title, historiated initials and engraved full-page portrait of Galileo at p. 5, 43 full-page engravings of sunspots and of Jovian satellites, several engraved tables and woodcut diagrams in text; light foxing mainly to margins, couple of tiny wormholes to gutter, light damp stain to tail of central gatherings, ink splash on f. Aii. A good copy in contemporary limp vellum, eps renewed; two minor repairs to head and tail of spine; occasional early underlining; label of David P. Wheatland (1898-1993), founder and curator of the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments of Harvard on front pastedown.

Rare first edition of Galileo’s earliest published endorsement of the Copernican theory, in its most complete variant. Two issues appeared in Rome by Mascardi, one with three additional letters by the Jesuit scientist Christoph Scheiner. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was one of the greatest mathematicians and astronomers of all time. His cutting-edge discoveries revolutionised early modern physics and eventually provoked the famous condemnation of the Holy Inquisition. Amongst many other acknowledgements, he was a member of the prestigious Academy of Lincei, a pioneering scientific fellowship established in Rome by Federico Cesi.

Galileo wrote the Istoria e dimostrazione in the form of three letters to his fellow academician Marcus Welser of Augsburg, arguing that sunspots appeared on the surface of the sun: they were not tiny satellites, as the traditional Aristotelian interpretation suggested. Based on telescopic observation of their motion, Galileo concluded that the sun rotated on a fixed axis like the Earth and other planets, thus embracing and somehow overstepping Copernicus’s view. In his usual combative tone, he maintained: ‘this planet also, perhaps no less than horned Venus, agrees admirably with the great Copernican system on which propitious winds now universally are seen to blow …’ His further discovery of the Satellites of Jupiter is described and illustrated with 5 plates. The work also includes Galileo’s first written account of the phases of Venus and Mercury as well as some considerations on the many puzzling mysteries surrounding Saturn. His circumstantial approval of the Copernican model anticipated many of his later theories and the related political and religious consequences.

This issue contains a second part entitled De maculis solaribus tres epistolae, comprising the three letters written to Welser by Christoph Scheiner about 1611. Scheiner was a Jesuit scholar and professor in Ingolstadt, Rome, Vienna and Nyssa. A pugnacious defender of the Ptolemaic system, he was a major antagonist of Galileo. His epistles, in which he states that sunspots are small planets, prompted Galileo to publish his account of his own observations. This was the first of several other debated between the two scholars, involving also the paternity of the discovery of the spots. The two issues of the editio princeps of Istoria e dimostrazioni were published at the same time; apparently, the first was meant to be distributed in Italy (where there would be no copyright dispute on Scheiner’s letters), whereas the second was tailored for export.

The edition bears a beautiful engraved portrait of Galileo within architectural border, drawn by the famous artist Francesco Villamena (1564-1624). Two putti are representations of astronomical science: one is measuring with a compass, the other is observing the sky with a telescope.

BM STC It. 17th, 373; Cinti, 44; Carli and Favaro, 60; Riccardi, I, 509 (without Schenier’s letters); Waller, 12046; Dawson, 2587 (‘[This issue] is generally considered to be the rarer of the two, and certainly to be preferred, as it gives us the full story of these celebrated discoveries’).


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DE’MEDICI, Lorenzo

Poesie Volgari.

Venice, Figliuoli di Aldo, 1554.


FIRST EDITION. 8vo. ff. 205 (iii). Roman and Italic letter, anchor device to title page and verso of last, historiated woodcut initials. Light age yellowing, very light water stain towards outer margin, very occasional spot or mark. Without O5-8 as usual and excluded from the register, comprising canzoni that were suppressed. A very good copy, crisp and clean in c. 1800 vellum, spine gilt ruled in compartments, olive and red morocco gilt lettered labels, original gilt and gauffered edges, arms of Hon. George Fortescue blind stamped on upper cover.

FIRST EDITION of the poems and poetic commentary of Lorenzo de’Medici, some of which are were written as early as age 17. The sonnets, sestinas, and songs are almost entirely preoccupied with love for beautiful women, in a style both imaginative and lively that strives toward the lyric of Dante and Petrarch. In his “Comment” on the poems, Medici expounds on life, love, his philosophical influences, and even current events that inspired him. For instance, he describes the death of Simonetta Vespucci, “la bella Simonetta” after his own nickname for the model for Boticelli’s Venus, and its influence over his work: throughout Florence her early death produced sadness and ‘a most ardent longing for her. And therefore she was taken uncovered from her house to the burial place, and moved all who crowded around to see her to copious tears’. Poems written later in life are also included in the volume, of a more serious and religious nature: on the virgin Mary, and the Crucifiction and Resurrection of Christ.

Lorenzo de’Medici “The Magnificent” (1449 – 1492), scholar, politician, and poet, was the driving force behind the flourishing culture of 15th century Florence through his patronage of the arts. Walter Pater’s characterization of Lorenzo’s age with that of Pericles is perhaps most apt: “It is an age productive in personalities, many-sided, centralized, complete. Here, artists and philosophers and those whom the action of the world has elevated and made keen, do not live in isolation, but breathe a common air, and catch light and heat from each other’s thoughts. There is a spirit of general elevation and enlightenment, in which all alike communicate.”

George Fortescue (1791-1877) son of the first Earl Fortescue, was member of Parliament for Hindon, who supported many pro-catholic bills in parliament. Although little noticed a a collector, he had a fine library, particularly of Aldines.

Renouard 162.23 “Presque tous les exemplaires sont multilés de cinq chansons (Canzoni) dans le feuille O”. Adams M1005. Ahmanson-Murphy IIIa 410. Gamba 648 “Raro…Questa edizione Aldina fu tenuta in molto pregio”. Not in Gay.


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PONTANUS, Johannes Isaacus


Historiae Gelricae libri 14. Deducta omnia ad ea usque tempora nostra, quibus firmata sub ordinibus republica

Harderwijk, excudit Nicol. à Wieringen gymnasij typographus: sumptibus Iohannis Iansonii, bibliopolae Amsterodamensis, 1639.


FIRST EDITION folio. pp. (xxvi), 72, 956, (lxxii). π², (:)⁴, *², 2*⁴, a-f⁶, A-4K⁶, 4L⁴, 4M-4R⁶, with four engraved portraits, five double page folding engraved maps, and four double page folding engraved plans of cities The five maps are of the Duchy or Gelrica, Nijmegen, Roermond, Zutphen and Arnhem. The town plans are of Nijmegen, Zupthen and Harderwijk. Roman letter, some Italic and Gothic. Fine engraved title with putti above with the arms of Gelderland, portraits of Claudius King of Batavia and William Prince of Orange at sides, large floriated and historiated woodcut initials, woodcut head and tail pieces, engraved C19th armorial book plate of the ‘The Earl of Roden’ with shelf mark on pastedown. Light age yellowing, minor dust soiling to first and last leaves. A fine copy crisp and clean in a contemporary London binding of black morocco, covers bordered with two double gilt rules with gilt dentelle rolls, Royal arms of Charles I gilt at centre, with a semé of flowers stars and fleurons gilt, flat spine gilt tooled with the same gilt borders and semé as covers.

A lovely copy of the beautifully printed and illustrated first edition of this monumental history of Gelderland, finely bound in black morocco, and richly gilt, for Charles I of England. The binding, with its rich semé of small tools, is fairly typical of the sumptuous bindings made for Charles I’s library; see British library catalogue of bindings shelf mark c24c4 for a binding attributed to the ‘Squirrel binder’ with a similar decoration also made for Charles I, with his arms gilt at center. For a study of the Royal arms blocks of which sixteen variants exist see Foot “Some bindings for Charles I” ‘Studies in Seventeenth-Century English literature History and Bibliography.’

In 1597 the provincial assembly of Gerle decided to commission a history of the Duchy of Gelderland, and Paulus Merula of Leiden University was approached to do the research. His work was severely hampered by the war and was eventually passed to his successor Johannes Luntius. When Luntius died in 1620 “the task was again transferred to another historian, Johannes Isaacus Pontanus in Harderwijk. Although like his predecessors not a native Geldersman, he was at least a resident of the province… Also like his predecessors Pontanus received a bundle of documents already collated and copied for the enterprise. The state made available 956 guilders to acquire chronicles and histories from Brabant, Cleves, Flanders, Utrecht and Julich. It was also recommended that Pontanus should have access to the archives of the regional aristocratic families. In 1634 the estates decided to print Pontanus’ manuscript, which now covered the history of Gelderland until 1438, the death of the last independent Duke. A commission was established whose members should check the manuscript before publication. It was then decided that the work should be extended to cover the period up too 1581.” Raingard Esser ‘The Politics of Memory: The Writing of Partition in the Seventeenth-Century Low Countries’. Pontanus studied in Franeker and Leiden, and worked for three years in Basel with the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. He taught at the University of Harderwijk from 1604 until his death. A lovely copy, beautifully bound for Charles I’s own library with the royal arms. Most ‘Royal’ bindings have a limited connection with the monarch whose arms they bear; often they merely demonstrate his remote patronage of the institution concerned. This sumptuous binding, however, was made for King Charles for one of his collections, interestingly continuing the style created by Bateman for the Royal library two generations earlier.

BM STC Fr. C17th. C375. Sabin III 11272. JFB 630/42.


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Le Monophile, avecq’ quelques autres euvres d’amour…

Paris, Robert le Mangnier, 1566.


8vo. ff. [iv] 147 [i]. Roman letter. Woodcut initials, printed side notes. Faint marginal dampstain to title and a few other leaves, occasional light age-yellowing, lower margins a little short, a clean and attractive copy in 17th-century French calf, contemporary gilt stamps of a Marquis’ arms on covers, spine gilt, speckled edges. Small neat repairs to lower corners and head and foot of spine, joints cracked, early inscription ‘A Monsr. de remiers’ on title. Bookplate of Paul Eluard by Max Ernst on pastedown.

An early and rare edition of Pasquier’s romantic work, probably shared with Vincent Norment and Jeanne Bruneau, from the library of the great Surrealist poet Paul Eluard, with his bookplate by Max Ernst. Pasquier, who lived well into his eighties, was a “viellard aimable et enjoué” and had fond memories of youth, particularly the pain engendered by love, which he indulged in producing a compilation of juvenilia under the title of La jeunesse de Pasquier. Pasquier’s literary pursuits predated his career as an ‘avocat’: “Lorsque j’arrivai au palais, ne trouvant qui me mist en besogne et n’estant né pour être oiseux, je me mis à faire des livres, mais livres conformes à mon age et l’honneste liberté que je portois sure le front”. This work is a collection of fables, songs, love letters, stories and dialogues written in honour of the real or ideal woman Pasquier was in love with, to whom it is dedicated. There is a second verse dedication to ladies in general. It was influenced by the Italian works on the philosophy of love fashionable at the time. Most of all, however, it is a discussion of the various aspects of relations between the sexes, largely in dialogue form between a girl and three young men, treating all aspects of love and lovers, and their different visions of them.

This copy is especially interesting for having belonged to the poet Eluard. Born Eugene Grindel, Eluard was one of the founding members and key figures in the Surrealist movement, and a prominent Resistance figure during the Occupation. One of the foremost French poets of the 20th century, his creative vocabulary was shaped by an absolute belief in love, but his poetry also has a dark edge. Eluard and Pasquier share a sense of the exaltation of the ‘puissance d’amour’, both poets celebrating emotional experience above ‘voluptuousness’ . Eluard’s work also finds its roots in a female muse, principally his two wives, Gala (who later married Dali) and Nusch (some of his most moving poems were written after the death of his wife, and are collected in Le temps déborde). Despite the gap of nearly four hundred years separating the two men, they are clearly close in their poetic vision of the supremacy of love, if not in their literary style. Eluard enjoyed a longstanding and close friendship with Ernst, an extraordinarily subtle painter, whose preoccupation with ‘primitive’ art, and psychology, led to his heavy use of the bird as a symbol. On Eluard’s bookplate, Ernst has interwoven his birds in a subtle array, to be viewed from a number of angles, the figure of the owl requiring the viewer to spare a ‘second look’.

Thickett 27; BM STC French, p. 340; Tchemerzine V, p. 78; Lemmonyer III, 267; cf. Brunet IV, p. 406 (Brunet notes that the first edition of this work is “fort rare”); not in Adams; or Graesse; one copy in the BN; Only two other copies are recorded, in the B.L. and the University of Chicago.


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COMMINES, Philippe de

An Epitome of All the Lives of the Kings of France.

London, I. Okes, 1639.


FIRST EDITION 8vo. pp. (xiv), 344, (viii). Roman letter; elaborate engraved architectural frontispiece depicting allegories of kingship: cherubs above with a sceptre, crown and cornucopia; in the centre kings with an orb and cannon, a laurel-wreathed skeleton at foot with all the accoutrements of kingship at his feet (not in McKerrow or Johnson); 67 halfpage woodcut portraits of the kings in very good impression, some repeated; woodcut initials; C18 armorial bookplate of William Perceval on pastedown, his ex libris on fly and with case mark on title page, old bibliographical note attached to ffep. Title page. slightly dusty, two leaves of prelims a bit soiled toward fore edge, light age yellowing. A good, original copy in contemporary sheep, Perceval’s crest gilt on spine and unusually, gilt (faded) case mark beneath, upper joint nicked at head.

Unsophisticated first and only edition of the English epitome of the lives of the Kings of France from Pharamond First in 429 to Louis 13th in 1610, also mentioning “the famous battailes of the two kings of England, who were the first victorious princes that conquered France”. Beginning with an attractive woodcut portrait, each life discusses the King’s parentage, ascent to power and principal events of his reign. Any peculiarities, such as Clodion’s habit of wearing his hair long as a badge of kingship, are also recorded. A table of the names of all the Kings appears at the end. Frequently referring to contemporary authors on the same topics, the epitome is an eminently readable and detailed compendium of French Royal biographies, aiming to give accurate dates, particularly for the most recent kings, and track the minutiae of the succession as fully as possible.

Sometimes attributed to writer and diplomat Philippe de Commines (1447-1511), i.a. in the preface of this edition, though the period covered continues long after his death, it is more likely that ‘the French coppy’ used was the now lost “Histoire des anciens Rois de France” by courtier Nicolas Houel (1520-1587), sometime artistic adviser to Catherine de Medici, probably expanded here by translator Richard Brathwaite. Brathwaite, (1588?-1673) was an English poet and translator, the most memorable of whose works was “Drunken Barnaby’s Four Journeys,” a travelogue in rhyming Latin verse.

William Perceval was an Irish landowner whose family properties (by marriage) included Amherst Island west of Kingston, Ontario. His cousin, Spencer Perceval, was the only British Prime Minister to have been assassinated.

STC 11273.


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Trigonometria Britannica: sive De doctrina triangvlorvm libri dvo.

Gouda, Pieter Rammazeyn, 1633.


FIRST EDITION. Folio, pp. [viii] 110, [cclxxiv]. *4 A-N4, O3, a-y6, z4, (lacking O4 blank), leaf with corrections inserted after F2. Roman & italic letter, geometric device on t.-p., numerous geometrical diags., woodcut initials & grotesque headpieces, 272 pp. of tables, contemp. autograph ‘Lord Arundell’ at head of t-p with his ms. shelf mark, C18 Arundell bookplate on pastedown, two stamps of the British Astronomical Association in margin of t-p. Light age yellowing, small ink stain to very outer blank margin of four ll. A very good, clean, well margined copy in contemporary English calf, sympathetically rebacked c. 1900, covers bordered with single blind and gilt rules, spine with raised bands, gilt ruled in compartments with gilt fleurons, all edges speckled red.

FIRST EDITION of the first complete set of trigonometrical tables, “containing the natural sines, tangents and secants to the one hundredth part of a degree and to 15 places, which have never been superseded by any subsequent calculations”. The work arose out of discussions between Briggs, professor of geometry at Gresham College, and the great Scots mathematician John Napier, the inventor of logarithms, who in 1614 had published his ‘Mirifici Logarithmorum Canonis Descriptio’. Napier agreed to suggestions by Briggs for adapting his invention more readily to the construction of tables, and the result, entailing prodigious labour, was Briggs’s ‘Arithmetica Logarithmica’ (1624) and the present work. It is clear that the scale of logarithms now in use, in which 1 is the logarithm of the ratio 10 to 1; 2 that of 100 to 1, etc., is due to Briggs, and that Napier’s role consisted simply in advising him to commence at 1 and make the logarithms increase, rather than decrease, with the natural numbers. Briggs is certainly the originator of the principle of logarithms having 10 for their base.

On his death in 1630 the ‘Trigonometria’ was still unfinished, but was completed by his friend Henry Gellibrand, professor of astronomy at the same college, who added a preface explaining the application of logarithms to plane and spherical trigonometry. They also proved highly useful in the advance of systematic geography and navigation, and among the pioneers in this field who benefited from Briggs’s friendship and special knowledge were Samuel Purchas, Capt. Luke Fox and Edward Wright.

“He [Briggs] was a man of the first importance in the intellectual history of his age. He published many books on arithmetic, geometry, and trigonometry, as well as tables for navigation. But, significant though Briggs was as a mathematician in his own right, his greatest importance was as a contact and public relations man”. He was at the center of a group that included William Gilbert, Edward Wright, Thomas Blundeville, Aaron Rathborne, Mark Ridley, Robert Hues, Hackluyt, and John Pell amongst many. “Briggs seems to have been the first person to appreciate the significance of Napier’s invention of logarithms …and from his interview with Napier onwards Briggs used all Gresham College’s resources to popularise this discovery… It has recently been claimed that in calculating his logarithms Briggs used results equivalent to the Binomial Expansion, whose discovery is normally attributed to Newton.” “Gellibrand (1597-1637) another friend and protégé of Brigg’s, completed his master’s work on logarithmic trigonometry tables: wrote on navigation; and demonstrated the secular variation of magnetic declination. His work was known to Mersenne. ” C. Hill. Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution.

A very good copy with excellent provenance; Lord Arundell of Wardour (1606- 1694) commanded gallantly for Charles I in the civil war, was employed by Charles II in arranging the negotiations for the secret Treaty of Dover with Louis XIV, was imprisoned for five years in the Tower during the Titus Oates hysteria, appointed Keeper of the Privy Seal under James II and remarkably died in his bed at the age of 88.

Shaaber B 661. Smith, ‘Rara Mathematica’ p. 621. Honeyman 506. Graesse I 540. Brunet I, 1258.


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