17th c. English Navigation - The Huth-Horblitt Copy

NAVIGATION. CARTOGRAPHY. ASTRONOMY. Seller, John (bap. 1632- d. 1697)

A Pocket Book Containing severall Choice Collections in Arithmetick, Astronomy, Geometry, Surveying, Dialling, Navigation, Astrology, Geography, Measuring, Gageing, By John Seller. Hydrographer to the King

London: sold by Iohn Seller. at his Shopp at the Hermitage Wapping, ? 1677


Octavo: 14 x 9 cm. Engraved title, 40 p. of letterpress, 74 lvs. of plates (see detailed note at end of this description), with 3 volvelles.

ONE OF THREE EDITIONS tentatively dated 1677 (see ESTC).

There are no earlier editions. Bound in 19thc. blond calf by Bedford, rebacked, boards gilt-ruled. Contents in very fine, very clean condition. All 74 plates (and all 3 volvelles) present. Provenance: bookplates of Henry Huth, Albert Ehrman, and Harrison D. Horblitt.

The map, navigational chart, and instrument maker John Seller is an important figure in the history of English cartography. He was granted a royal license to produce maritime atlases and charts and in 1671 was appointed hydrographer to the king. In that same year he produced "The English Pilot", which was followed by his "The Coasting Pilot" (1672) and "Atlas Maritimus" (1675). He also produced miniature compendia and atlases such as the "Atlas Minumus", the present "Pocket Book"(ca. 1677),and the first English celestial atlas, the "Atlas Caelestis"(1680).

Throughout his career he continued to make instruments, including compasses and glasses for mariners. In addition, he"taught on navigation, mathematics, surveying, gunnery, and fortification, and wrote several textbooks, including the popular 'Practical Navigation' (1669), outlining the mathematical basis of navigation through worked examples. Within the limits of contemporary practice his description of the various instruments and their use at sea is of exemplary clarity."(DNB)

Contents: letterpress: A-E4 (40 pp.). Engravings (all printed on one side only): [1] leaf (engraved t.p.), [14] lvs. (almanac), [1] leaf with 2 volvelles (perpetual calendar), [3] double-page lvs. (table of tides, Dominical Letter, Zodiac Man), [17] lvs. (kings of England, perpetual almanac, lunar table, solar table, altitude of the Sun, eclipses of Sun and Moon from 1677 to 1700, planetary tables, calculating hours, sunset and sunrise, moveable feasts, Sun's right ascension, latitudes of principal cities and towns), [2] double-page lvs. (introduction to mathematics in calligraphic script, table of mathematical notation), [6] lvs. (mathematics), [1] leaf (sphere in orthographic projection), [21] lvs., 1 with a single volvelle (geometry, trigonometry, weights and measures, calculating interest), [1] double-page leaf (a galleon with its parts described), [1] double-page leaf (writing and decoding a cipher), [1] double-page leaf (map of the world), [8] lvs. (maps of the continents with their principal cities named), [1] double-page  leaf (map of England).

N.B. ESTC notes that there are 74 lvs. of plates, which corresponds to this copy. It then notes that "Eighteen of the plates are double; in some copies, these may be bound as folded single leaves." In my description above, aside from the engraved t.p., all plates described simply as "engraved leaves" are considered single page unless designated as "double page". While it must be the case (as ESTC makes clear) that some pairs of facing single page engravings are in fact printed on one sheet but, as they are sewn, not tipped onto guards, it is not possible to see which ones are. The engravings that I designate as "double-page", which are on visible guards, are clearly single sheets.

STC R220989; Wing S2480A