Small folio, Two Volumes: 39.5 x 19.9 cm. 106 double-page woodcuts.
First edition, printed by the Jesuits in Beijing, of this magnificent woodcut book depicting the observatory and scientific instruments designed by the Jesuits for the emperor of China. This is a very rare book and one of the greatest masterpieces of Sino-European printing. This is one of only 46 copies known (of which 3 can no longer be located) and is 1 of only 2 copies known to still be in private hands.
Chapman, Allan, “Tycho Brahe in China: the Jesuit Mission in Peking and the Iconography of European Instrument-making Processes: in Annals of Science, Vol. 41 (1984), pp. 417-43–(gving a detailed technical exposition of the illustrations in this work). Cordier, Sinica, 1451. Golvers, Ferdinand Verbiest, S.J. (1623-1688) and the Chinese Heaven, no. LO 12 in his census. Sommervogel VIII, 575.
The Most Beautiful Astronomical Atlas of the 17th Century. A Fine Copy in Contemporary Color
53 x 33 cm. 364 pages. Collation: π1 (engraved t.p.), [?]7, (a)-(z)2, (aa)-(hh)2, (ii)1; A-Z2, Aa-Zz2, Aaa-Iii2. Complete with the additional engraved title page, printed title page, and 29 double-page engraved plates.
The first 21 plates constitute a historical survey of cosmological theories, illustrating the motions of the sun and planets according to Ptolemy, Copernicus and Tycho Brahe. The last eight plates are celestial hemispheres and planispheres depicting the constellations. Ten of the plates (9-11, 13, 15, 16, 18-21) are the work of Johannes van Loon (d. 1686). The allegorical title page is the work of Frederik Hendrik van den Hove (1628/29-1698).
Bibliographical references: Koeman, Atlantes Neerlandici, I:801B; Ashworth Jr., William B., “Allegorical Astronomy: Baroque Scientists encoded their most Dangerous Opinions in Art”, The Sciences, 25, (1985), nr. 5, 34-37
A Fascinating & Important 14th Century Pharmaceutical Manuscript
Northwest Germany: 3rd quarter of the 14th c., ca. 1369
Folio: 29.5 x 21 cm. 98 lvs. Text in 2 columns of 38 to 44 lines. Complete.
Contents: (see also the discussion of these texts on pages 2-3 of this description): I. Matthaeus Platearius (attrib.) “Circa instans” (p. 1-101); II. Walter Agilon, “De dosis medicinarum” (p. 101-113); III. Anon., “Ars medicinarum laxativarum” (p. 113-126); IV. Bartholomeo da Varignana, “Practica a capite usque ad pedes” (excerpt) (p.
London: printed [by Richard Field] for Nathaniell Butter, ca. 1612
Folio: 28 x 18.5 cm. [π]1, *6(-*1, bank), A-Ff6, G8 (-Gg8, blank), [π]2.
First edition of the complete text, in 24 books, of George Chapman’s celebrated landmark translation of Homer’s “Iliad”, one of the foundational works of Western literature. In this edition, the final 12 books appear for the first time and the first and second books are rewritten. “The unsigned sheet containing the sonnets to Viscounts Cranborne and Rochester and to Sir Edward Philips is a great rarity, only about six copies having it can be traced.
London: For N[icholas] L[ing]. C[uthbert] B[urby]. and T[homas] H[ayes], 1600
Octavo: 15 x 9.2 cm. , 494 [i.e. 510] pp. Collation: A-Z8, Aa-Kk8 (lacking blank leaves A1, A2, and Kk8)
“This volume is a compilation of quotations of various lengths, generally with sources noted but not always accurately, taken from the poetical works of some fifty Elizabethan writers. There are included 91 genuine extracts from Shakespeare’s works, mostly (63) derived from ‘Venus and Adonis’ and ‘Lucrece’ but all from plays or poems that had been printed before 1600.
Bibliotheca Anglo-Poetica 1; Grolier, Langland to Wither 3; Hayward 38; Pforzheimer 358; Case, Poetical Miscellanies, 23(a); Bartlett, Shakespeare: Original and Early Editions of the Quartos and Folios, His Source Books, and those Containing Contemporary Notices (Elizabethan Club, Yale), No. 299
European Astronomy in 17th c. China. With the Engraving of The Astronomical Observatory in Beijing
Quarto: 19 x 16 cm. (8), 126, (2) p. Collation: )(4, A-Q4
Verbiest and the New Chinese Astronomical Observatory:
In 1669 the Belgian Jesuit Ferdinand Verbiest, with the blessing of the K’ang Hsi Emperor, embarked upon a project to build a new Imperial astronomical observatory of Beijing (Peking). The construction of the new observatory, the replacement of the outdated and far less accurate Chinese instruments, and the introduction of European instruments that used the Western sexagesimal system of 360 degrees (rather than the Chinese system), marked, in a concrete way, the full adoption of European science by the Chinese, a process that had been underway since the beginning of the 17th century, and which had been fraught with set-backs, controversy, and violent opposition.
De Backer-Sommervogel, VIII, 580, 24; Streit, Bibliotheca Missionum, V, 2267, III, 14; Cordier, Sinica 1451; Walravens, China illustrata 198; Löwendahl, China illustrate Nova, I, 185; Golvers, ed. The Astronomia Europaea of Ferdinand Verbiest, S.J.; Golvers, Ferdinand Verbiest, S.J. (1623-1688) and the Chinese Heaven
Rome & The Papal States. The Very Rare “Theatrum Italiae”. With 118 Folding & Full page Engraved Illustrations
Two Large Folio Volumes: 56 x 38 cm. Vol I: 2 ff. (General printed title conjugate with dedication), 2 ff. ("Ad lectorem"), 1 f. (Dedication), 2 ff. (Printed section title, half title), 1-253 pp., 1 f. (Index leaf). Illustrated with an engraved frontispiece and 74 plates.
A fine set of one of Joan Blaeu’s most magnificent productions. This set is very rare, owing probably to the fire that ravaged Blaeu’s workshop in 1672, the year before the publication of these “town books”. This copy has an additional plate, not recorded by Koeman, of the Obeliscus Pamphilius, in volume 2.
The two volumes are profusely illustrated with town views, architectural plans, ancient, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture (including many villas); and sculpture.
Strasbourg: Johann Reinhard, called Grüninger, 12 March, 1498
Folio: 298 x 222 mm. Collation: [*]6, A-V6, X-Z6, AA-II6, KK-LL8; [**]6
This copy is partially rubricated and is annotated, in Latin, throughout in at least two contemporary hands. The early annotations are intact, having been spared by the binder’s knife, and consist of metrical notations, citations from other authors, and comments. There are also two glosses in Greek (leaves S6v and FF1r) as well as an apparent note in German (leaf FF6). An added manuscript index for the “Epistolae” is bound after the final text leaf.
Hain 8898; Goff H 461; BMC I, 112; Polain 1989; Proctor 485; Walsh 182; Fairfax Murray (German) 205; Rosenwald Collection 188; Dibdin, Bibl. Spenceriana II, 87-95. For Grüninger, his illustrated books, and Locher’s edition of Horace, see Mark Morford, Johann Grüninger of Strasbourg in “Syntagmatia: Essays on Neo-Latin Literature in Honour of Monique Mund-Dopchie and Gilbert Tournoy (Humanistica Lovaniensia, XXVI) 2009
“Ye use, my mayster sayth, to look so sadly whan ye mene merrily, that many tymes men doubte whyther ye speke in sporte whan ye mene good ernest.”
A fine copy bound in 19th century parchment over boards with a central blind-stamped arabesque. The text is in excellent condition with only minor cosmetic faults: The blank upper corner of the title page has been restored without affecting the text; there are a few stains and scattered contemporary annotations. This copy is complete with the errata leaf (D4).
Thomas More’s Defense of Catholic Orthodoxy in the face of the Protestant Reformation, “A Dialogue against Heresies”, is a masterpiece of 16th c.
Quarto: 20 x 14.6 cm. Collation: a-f8 g10 (a1 blank, a2r dedication to M. Fabius [Quintilianus?], a3r text, g9r commendatory poem by Jacobus Sentinus, g10r poem and verse colophon by Johannes Santritter, g10v blank). 58 leaves. 31 lines. Types 3:91G (text), 7:92G (heading on a2r), 91 Gk (a few words). Title on a2r printed in red, 11-, 7-, 5- and 3-line white-on-black woodcut initials. 47 half-page woodcuts, probably designed by Johannes Santritter, of the constellation and planet figures.
FIRST ILLUSTRATED EDITION of Hyginus’ “Poeticon Astronomicon”, illustrated with 47 half-page woodcuts of the constellations and the planets personified. The text is set in a pleasing Gothic. The text of Hyginus was first published in an unillustrated edition at Ferrara in 1475.
The “Poeticon Astronomicon” (more correctly, the “Astronomica”) is an ancient Roman work on the constellations chiefly based on the work of the Greek scientist Eratosthenes (3rd c.
Strasbourg: Printer of the 1481 Legenda aurea, 22 March 1482
Folio: 29.2 x 21.8 cm. 274 unsigned leaves. [A-C]8, [D]10; [a-m]8, [n]6,[o-z]8, [aa-ff]8, [gg]10. Complete with the initial and final blanks.
The arrival of printed books is so often regarded as one of the inaugural moments of the renaissance that it is sometimes forgotten that the first years of print also represented the last great flowering of the Middle Ages. The “Lumen Anime” (Light of the Soul), is testament to that. Formerly attributed to the Carmelite friar Mathias Farinator of Vienna (who compiled the index), the “Lumen Anime” is now known to be Berenger of Landorra, General of the Dominican order and archbishop of Campostella from 1317 to 1325.
BMC I, 97; Hain-Copinger 10333*; Goff L-396; Proctor 413; Polain 1468; Wellcome I, 2175; Klebs 631.3; Thorndyke III, 546ff. Sources: Mary A. and Richard H. Rouse, ‘The Texts called Lumen Anime,’ Archivum Fratrum Praedicatorum, 41 (Rome, 1971), 5-113; N.R. Ker, Records of All Soul’s College Library. 1437-1600 (Oxford, 1971), 27.
With 19 Full-page Anatomical Engravings. The Very Rare First Edition
Quarto: 30.6 x 20.3 cm. , 105,  p. *6, A-I6 (with two additional blanks as in the Getty copy.)
Jacques Guillemeau served as physician to no fewer than six kings of France, first as assistant to his mentor Ambroise Paré and then as official Royal Surgeon. Remarkably, Guillemeau performed autopsies on two of those six monarchs, Charles IX in 1574 (under the direction of Paré) and Louis XIII in 1610. Guillemeau was himself the son of a surgeon, and his own son, Charles (b. 1588) continued in this tradition, ably working alongside his father.
First edition, edited by John Foxe, of the works of Tyndale, Frith, and Barnes, with brief lives drawn from his Book of Martyrs. The works of Tyndale, translator of the Bible into English, occupy the better part of the volume.
‘We have great cause to geeve thankes to the high providence of the almighty God, for the excellent arte of Printing, most happely of late found out, and now commonly practised every where, to the singular benefite of Christes Church … Wherfore such Printers in my mynde, are not to be defrauded of their due commendation, who in pretermitting other light triflyng pamflets of matter unneedful, and impertinent, little serving to purpose, lesse to necessitie, doe employe their endeavour and workemanship chiefly to restore such fruitfull workes and monumentes of auncient writers, and blessed Martyrs: who as by theiry godly lyfe, and constant death, gave testimonie to the trueth …’ (Preface).
Quarto: 19 x 14.5 cm. A-C4, A-Z4, Aa16, Bb6, Cc8, Dd12, Ee16, Ff14, Gg8, Hh-Ss4.
“‘The Spider and the Flie’ is an allegorical mock-heroic bestiary in rhyme royal by John Heywood. It was printed in 1556 but, according to Heywood’s epilogue, was begun nineteen years earlier. The time span between composition and publication may account in part for the generally acknowledged obscurities and inconsistencies of Heywood’s political and religious allegory.
Rome: Superior permissu. Ex Typographeio Vitalis Mascardi, 1651
Two Folio Volumes bound as one: 32 x 22 cm. , 1-455, [456, blank, unnumbered], 457-464, [2 unnumbered pp.], 459-468, 469-840, [841-842], 843-846, 845-846, 847-899, [1, bank], [901-902], 903-904, 903-904, 905-950, , , 1-90,  pp. With the engraved and the letterpress title pages. Collation: 1 [engraved t.p.], †4, a-b2, A-Z6, Aa-Pp6, an added signature Qq4 (p. 457-464 with the 3rd leaf signed Qq2), original signature Qq6 (half-title, unsigned and unnumbered), p. 459-468), Rr-Zz6, Aaa-Zzz6, Aaaa-Bbbb6 (plus additional leaf Bbbb3 (p. 845/846, dedication to F. Cesi), Cccc-Ffff6, Gggg6 (plus an additional leaf Gggg2 (p. 903-904, dedication to Roderic de Mendoza). Leaf Gggg is a folded table; Hhhh6 (plus an added leaf after Hhhh2 (“Append. ad pag. 917/918”), Iiii-Kkkk6, Llll2, b-c4, D2; A-M4
The “Rervm Medicarvm Novæ Hispaniæ thesavrvs” is the first publication to include a substantial part of the groundbreaking research conducted by Francisco Hernández while on the first scientific expedition to New Spain in the 1570s. Hernández’ work was the first of its kind and it remains an invaluable source for the study of 16th c. American natural history.
Bibliography and further reading: Anderson, Herbals, Chapter 30 (pp. 235-244): “The first scientific expedition to New Spain.” Anker, Bird Books and Bird Art, p. 18: “More than 200 birds are enumerated and briefly commented upon. This section is not illustrated, although several pictures of birds are found in other parts of the work.” Arents (Add.) 346. Beddall, “Spanish Science and the New World,” p. 434: “Hernández traveled in New Spain (Mexico) on what is now considered to be the first modern scientific expedition.” BMC (Nat. Hist.) II, p. 832. JCB I (2, 1600-1658), p. 408. Brunet III, cols. 119-120n. Coues, Birds of the Colorado Valley, pp. 573-574: “This famous work is cited by bibliographers and naturalists in such uncertain ways, occasioning much confusion.” European Americana 1651/81 & 1651/82. Garrison & Morton (5th edition), Medical Bibliography 1821.1n (citing 1628 edition). Glass, pp. 131-132, #132 & fig. 38 & p. 624 (citing this 1651 edition)
An Impressive Sammelband of Gesner’s Complete Zoological Works. Illustrated with over 1,000 Woodcuts
A magnificent sammelband, bound in alum-tawed pigskin over beveled wooden boards, lacking one clasp. Binding soiled and with slight wear but still very fine. The boards are ruled and tooled in blind with medallion portrait heads and Biblical figures. The text of all four volumes is in excellent condition. There is one small tear to the lower corner of leaf B2, with loss of a few letters. One of the birds in the first work has been nicely colored by a 16th c.
Quarto: 19.5 x 14.3 cm. 60 lvs. Collation: a-g8, h4. 30-31 lines, Gothic type
A fine copy of Erhard Ratdolt’s beautiful printing of Sacrobosco’s “Sphere”, the core astronomical textbook from the Middle Ages to the early 16th century. This edition is the first to include key texts by two of the most influential 15th c. astronomers: Johannes Regiomontanus and Georg Peurbach.
Working in the vein of the Renaissance humanists, Peurbach and his student Regiomontanus sought out the extant scientific writings of antiquity, the classical foundations of medieval European and Arabic science.
Bern: Mathias Apiarius (Biener) for Johann Petreius, 1545
Quarto: 21 x 16.5 cm. I. , 302,  p. aa-bb4, a-z4, A-P4. II.  p. A-Q4
I. “Alchemiae Libri” (1545) Second edition of this extremely important and early collection of alchemical writings. The identity of Geber with the eighth-century alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan is still a matter of dispute. “Even on the slender basis of our present knowledge, Jabir appears already as a very great personality, one of the greatest in mediaeval science.”–Sarton, I, p.
I. VD 16, J 4; Adams G 300 (under Geber); Brüning 232; Ferguson I, 302; Wellcome I, 2716; Darmstaedter, Geber 11; see Duveen 11 (edition of 1541). II. VD 16, ZV 2311; Adams J 7 (under Jâbir); Brüning 246; Ferguson I, 122 f.; Duveen 98; Wellcome I, 1031; see Mellon 18 (Lyon 1548), not in Darmstaedter
The First Edition of Spenser’s Complaints. The Sole 16th Century Edition
London: Imprinted by Thomas Orwin for VVilliam Ponsonbie, dwelling in Paules Churchyard at the signe of the Bishops head, 1591
Quarto: 18.5 x 14 cm.  p. Collation: A-Z4 (lacking final blank Z4)
The contents are as follows: 1. The Ruines of Time. 2. The Teares of the Muses. 3. Virgils Gnat. 4. Prosopopoia, or Mother Hubberds Tale. 5. The Ruines of Rome: by Bellay. 6. Muiopotmos, or The Tale of the Butterflie. 7. Visions of the Worlds vanitie. 8. Bellayes visions. 9. Petrarches visions.
“Of the nine poems in the volume, four are sonnet sequences while the others are in rhyme royal, ottava rima, sixaines, or couplets.
Frankfurt: Impensis Ioannis Godefridi Schönwetteri, 1635
Octavo: 18 x 11.7 cm. , 932 (i.e. 924),  p. Collation: Signatures: [asterisk]6 2[asterisk]4 3[asterisk]4 A-4S8 4T2 4V7. Complete with blank leaves ***4, Cc6 and Vvvv8, the slip with printed catchword inserted at the foot of ***3v (noted by Cinti), and the folding letterpress table.
KEPLER'S LONGEST AND MOST INFLUENTIAL WORK was first published in three separate volumes from 1618 to 1621. The first published part was placed on the Index of Prohibited Books in 1619.
It is possible to see, from this uncut copy, that one half of each sheet was printed with an ample fore-edge, and the other half with a narrow fore-edge, which explains why copies generally have much narrower dimensions.