Four folding engraved plates. xxxviii, , 184 pp. 4to, cont. mottled calf, spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. Paris: David l’aîné, 1749.
First edition of one of Alembert’s most important books. “During the late 1740’s, d’Alembert, Clairaut, and Euler were all working on the famous three-body problem, with varying success. D’Alembert’s interest in celestial mechanics thus led him, in 1749, to publish a masterly work, the Recherches sur la Précession des Equinoxes…The precession of the equinoxes, a problem previously attacked by Clairaut, was very difficult. D’Alembert’s method was similar to Clairaut’s but he employed more terms in his integration...
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Four folding engraved plates. xxxviii, , 184 pp. 4to, cont. mottled calf, spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. Paris: David l’aîné, 1749.
Engraved vignette on title & four folding engraved plates. 2 p.l., xxvi, , 186,  pp. 4to, cont. marbled calf (extremities a trifle worn, preliminary leaves a bit discolored), spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. Paris: David l’aîné, 1743.
First edition, and a fine copy, of d’Alembert’s masterpiece on dynamics; this has become a scarce book on the market. “The Traité de dynamique, which has become the most famous of his scientific works, is significant in many ways. First, it is clear that d’Alembert recognized that a scientific revolution had occurred, and he thought that he was doing the job of...
53 fine plates on 30 sheets. 2 p.l., xxxix, 99,  pp. 4to, cont. Spanish green morocco, cover with gilt fillets round sides, flat spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine, characteristic Spanish marbled endpapers, a.e.g. [Madrid: en la Imprenta Real de la Gazeta, 1781].
First edition — and a superb copy in contemporary Spanish green morocco — of one of the most beautiful and influential of the Spanish writing books; this work and that of Palomares, published in 1776, made Spain an 18th-century center for calligraphy and fine handwriting.
The calligraphic world of later eighteenth-century Spain was formed by the Palomaristas and the Anduagistas...
16 vols. bound in 6. 8vo, cont. patterned cloth (Vols. 1-13), modern cloth (Vols. 14-15), & orig. wrappers (Ghent sale). London: Sotheby, Evans, or Wheatley (Vols. 1-13), Paris: Silvestre (Vols. 14 & 15), & Ghent: Ch. Citerne, 1834-37.
The auction catalogues of the library of Richard Heber are very rare; this set is complete and includes the very rare Ghent catalogue of 26 Oct. 1835.
“The Dibdinian age may be aptly said to terminate with the dispersal of the gigantic library accumulated by Richard Heber (1773-1833), a bibliomaniac if ever there was one…From 1800 to 1830, he purchased at every London sale, either in his own name or through...
viii, 239 (i.e. 235) pp. 8vo, cont. French red morocco, triple gilt fillet round sides, flat spine richly gilt, a.e.g. [London]: 1773.
The second of the auction catalogues prepared for the sale of the library of James West. This is a splendid copy bound in contemporary French red morocco and entirely ruled in red (including the title-page) with prices in a contemporary hand. This copy belonged to the famous book collector Michael Wodhull (1740-1816), who has characteristically recorded on the free front flyleaf the price, date and place of purchase as well as signed it.
West (1704-73), treasurer of the Inner Temple and President of the Royal Society, formed a collection of printed books “exceedingly rich in early English ones. It contained no fewer than thirty-four Caxtons, and a large number of works from the presses of Lettou, Machlinia, the anonymous ‘Scole mayster’ of St. Albans, Wynkyn de Worde, Pynson, and the rest of the old English typographers, many of which were unique copies. His manuscripts were exceptionally interesting and valuable.”–Fletcher, English Book Collectors, p. 205–(& see pp. 203-07). His library was also strong in scientific, historical, and philosophical works as well as books dealing with law and crime. West bought at all the great sales and dispersals in England for nearly fifty years, including those of Rawlinson, Harley, and Folkes.
6 p.l., 276 pp. 12mo, cont. vellum over boards. Paris: C. du Mesnil & T. Jolly, 1654.
First edition of “the first independent bibliography of chemistry and alchemy, including manuscript material, based on the author’s very considerable collection of 4,000 books and manuscripts. Borel, ‘medecin ordinaire du Roy,’ made some original contributions to medicine and also wrote on optics, the microscope, botany, and antiquarian subjects.”–Grolier Club, Bibliography, 59.
A fine copy of a book which has become scarce. Contemporary signature “Ex libris Francisci Sauvin Med.” at head of title. François Sauvin was a 17th-century physician who wrote or edited a number of medical...
Added engraved title & 40 engraved plates (three are folding). 1 p.l., 106 pp., one blank leaf. Small 4to, cont. English panelled calf (corners renewed, rebacked, some dampstaining in gutter at foot to first ten leaves). Rome: A. de Rubeis, 1703.
First separate edition, originally published as the second part of the author’s Observationes circa viventia (1691). Our edition — which is actually the original printing of the second part with a new title-page — is very rare with only one copy located by WorldCat.
Buonanni (1738-1725), one of the most learned Jesuits of his time, was a pupil of Athanasius Kircher, and succeeded his master...
3 p.l., vi, , -766 pp., 2 leaves of errata. Two parts in one vol. Large 4to, cont. mottled calf (two corners a bit worn, outer margin of title a little stained, some spots of dampness & dormant mold towards end), arms in gilt of the Marquis de Tulle de Villefranche (the arms of this important family of the Comtat Venaissin were added in the 19th century) on both covers, spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. Avignon: L. Chambeau, 1770-71.
The very rare privately printed catalogue — issued in a few copies only — of one of the most important collections...
Three vols. 12mo, bound in cont. German brown morocco for Duke William of Brunswick (1806-84), with his elaborate arms inlaid on all six covers, sides elaborately gilt, spines richly gilt, a.e.g. Paris: Baudry, 1825.
First edition to be printed on the Continent. Certainly no other copy of The Spy has ever been bound in such an “over the top” fashion.
Very fine set with the elaborately gilt bookplate of Duke William [Wilhelm], nephew of King George III of Britain, in each volume. The first volume lacks the half-title.
Thirty engraved plates (many folding). xxxv, , 571 pp.; vi, 656 pp.; vi, 290 pp., 3 p.l., 286,  pp. Three vols. 8vo, cont. mottled calf (foot of spine of Vol. III with a bit of wear), triple gilt fillet round sides, spines gilt, a.e.g., red morocco lettering pieces on spines. Paris: Briasson, 1767.
First edition, and a very handsome set, of this lavish and detailed catalogue. “In 1767 Romé was employed, on Sage’s recommendation, to draw up a catalogue of the curiosities that had been collected by Pedro Francisco Davila, who wished to sell his cabinet of natural history before returning to Peru. The...
xx, 76 pp. 8vo, orig. green cloth, upper cover lettered in gilt. [Manchester: Chas. Sever, Lithographer], 1900.
The rare catalogue describing a vast and storied collection. The collection had its beginnings with the peculiar story of Francis Egerton (not the above), the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater (1736-1803), also known as the “Canal Duke.” “The Duke of Bridgewater was one of the great and eccentric success stories of English history. Like that other ducal oddity, the 5th Duke of Portland, he was rejected in love and remained a bachelor. Bridgewater had one big idea: to construct a canal from Manchester to Liverpool to...
xvi, 125 pp.,  pp. of publisher’s ads. Large 4to, cont. mottled calf (a few careful repairs to upper joint & corners), triple gilt fillet round sides, spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine, a.e.g. The Hague: P. de Hondt, 1756.
First edition in French (1st ed., in English: 1755); this is one of the few copies which has fine and delicate contemporary coloring. Ellis (ca. 1710-76), whom Linnaeus termed a “bright star of natural history” and “the main support of natural history in England,” was one of the earliest marine zoologists. With the Swede Daniel Solander (1733–1782), he discovered...
Lithographed title with vignette depicting both sides of the medallion of the Société lithographique de Mulhouse, lithographed leaf of table of contents, & eight lithographed plates (two in color). Large 4to, later blue wrappers (title a little dusty), newly stitched, uncut. Paris: “chez l’Auteur Rue Casette No. 18,” .
First edition of one of the great rarities of lithography. Engelmann (1788-1839), a native of Mulhouse, first learned of lithography in 1813 and began to experiment on some stones. Realizing he needed more information, he decided to go to Munich to see the process at first hand. “For several weeks Engelmann studied...
Engraved vignette on title & five folding engraved plates. Title in red & black. 1 p.l., 322 pp., 1 leaf of instructions to binder. Large 4to, cont. mottled calf (foot of upper joint carefully repaired), spine richly gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. Lausanne & Geneva: M.M. Bousquet, 1744.
First edition of the work which created the calculus of variations. This book, which displayed “an amount of mathematical genius seldom rivalled, contained his researches on the calculus of variation to the invention of which Euler was led by the study of the researches of Johann and Jakob Bernoulli…The study of isoperimetrical curves, the brachistochrone...
Illus. in the text (Vol. 6 has 13 full-page illus.). Six vols. 8vo, modern wrappers (first leaf of Vol. IV with small defect obscuring one or two characters, Vol. VI with two natural paper flaws touching a few characters of text), new stitching. [China]: two Prefaces dated 1644.
First edition of this influential Chinese ophthalmological work, which records 108 types of eye diseases and has more than 300 prescriptions as well as illustrations and plentiful data. The book discusses medical records of ophthalmology and the theory of five orbiculi (illustrated in the first volume), the eight regions of the whites of the eyes...
One engraved plate (somewhat browned). 39,  pp. 4to, cont. half-calf & marbled boards. Helmstadt: C.G. Fleckeisen, 1799.
First edition of Gauss’s first book for which he received his doctorate degree; in this rare work Gauss gave the first rigorous proof of the fundamental theorem of algebra. This theorem, which states that every algebraic equation in one unknown has a root, was expressed by Albert Girard, Descartes, Newton, and Maclaurin. Attempts at a proof were made by d’Alembert, Euler, and Lagrange, but Gauss was the first to furnish a rigorous demonstration.
This is Gauss’s first great work and marks the beginning of an extraordinary ten years which saw the publication of his Disquisitiones Arithmeticae (1801) and his calculation of the orbit of the newly discovered planet Ceres.
Mezzotint frontis. port. of George III (a little foxed), arms on each title, & two engraved views of the library serving as head- & tailpieces. Five vols. Large folio, cont. red straight-grained morocco (minor scuffing), panelled & tooled in gilt with centerpiece stamped monogram "GR" surmounted by a crown on covers, spines gilt, dentelles gilt, a.e.g. London: W. Bulmer & W. Nicol, 1820-29.
The catalogue, "sumptuously printed" by Bulmer, of the magnificent library of King George III (1738-1820), donated to the nation by his son, George IV. This is a royal copy, having belonged to Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland and the...
Ten folding engraved plates. 31 pp. Large 4to, cont. half-calf & marbled boards, spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. London: Printed by W. Richardson & S. Clark; and sold by J. Nourse & Mess. Mount & Page, 1767.
MASKELYNE, Nevil. An Account of the Going of Mr. John Harrison’s Watch, at the Royal Observatory, from May 6th, 1766 to March 4th, 1767. Together with the Original Observations and Calculations of the Same…Published by Order of the Commissioners of Longitude. 28, lvi pp. Large 4to. London: W. Richardson & S. Clark, 1767.
9 p.l., 127,  pp. Small 4to, 19th-cent. red half-morocco & marbled boards (minor staining here & there, A6 a bit chipped at head but not touching text), spine lettered in gilt. London: R. Field for R. Mylbourne, 1625.
First edition and quite uncommon. Hart (d. 1639), physician, studied in Paris and took his medical degree at Basel in 1609. He then travelled to Germany and on to Prague. Upon returning to England, he settled in Northampton where he established a practice and lived there for the rest of his life.
“Hart’s first published work was The Arraignement of Urines (1623), an abridged translation of De incerto...
Woodcut device on general & divisional titles and numerous woodcut diagrams & illus. in the text. General title printed in red & black. 4 p.l., 124, , 125-128, , 129-180 pp. 4to, cont. vellum over boards. Leyden: P. vanderAa, 1690.
First edition of one of the great classics of optics. This book contains Huygens’ classical formulation of optical phenomena in terms of the wave theory of light, opposing the corpuscular theory advanced by Newton. Huygens showed how all points of a wave front originate partial waves and thereby propagate further wave motion. Thus reflection and refraction of light could also be explained. By the same means the...
Woodcut printer’s device of the golden compass on title. 119 pp. Small 8vo, 18th-cent. Belgian mottled calf (head of spine a little chipped, joints rubbed), sides gilt, spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine (label partly flaked away). Antwerp: C. Plantin, 1570.
[as usual, bound after]:
PHILIP II, King of Spain. Philippi II. Regis Catholici Edictum De Librorum prohibitorum catalogo observando. Woodcut printer’s device of the golden compass on title. 8 unnumbered leaves. Antwerp: C. Plantin, 1570.
Ink, brush, & color wash in various colors, gold speckles on edges and endpapers, silk brocade endpapers. Japan: early 19th-century.
The equestrian sport of polo, or in Japanese dakyu, is believed to have originated in Central Asia and then spread both to Europe and became “polo,” as well as to China and subsequently Japan through the Korean peninsula in the 8th or 9th centuries. In the Nara and Heian periods, the court at the Imperial Palace played dakyu, most notably on the Boys’ Day Festival (tango) of 5 May.
While dakyu’s popularity declined during the Kamakura period, it experienced a resurgence under the reign of Yoshimune Tokugawa (1684-1751), who adopted the game as a form of exercise for cavalry warfare. At this time, it evolved into a recreation closer to lacrosse in which they scooped rather than struck the ball with a gittcho (polo cane). This scroll vividly depicts the Yamagata or Imperial style of play, employing shorter canes and smaller balls, and with both teams shooting at a single goal.
3 p.l. (lacking the first leaf, a blank; title a little soiled), 143, 152-66 pp. Small 4to, cont. English limp vellum. London: N. Okes for N. Bourne, 1623.
First edition of one of the great early English accounts of the exploration of the interior of Africa and the first to be published separately (others appear in collections); it is a classic account of the search for gold.
Ghana, the earliest known empire of the western Sudan, first entered the historical consciousness of North Africa near the end of the eighth century but probably originated long before. Famous to North Africans as the...
Numerous full-page or double-page color-printed woodcut illus. 27 folding leaves. 8vo, orig. wrappers (a bit rubbed), orig. block-printed title label on upper cover (again, a bit rubbed), new stitching. Osaka: Senritei et al., 1831.
First edition of this handsome color-printed woodcut book and a wonderful example of karazuri (blind-printing) which makes fine Japanese illustrated books so pleasing. We find no copy in WorldCat.
“Another artist with greater affinities to Shijo than Ukiyo-e is Katsura Seiyo (1786-1860), but he was a prolific designer of prints for kyoka books…he had an obvious appreciation of book design, and he enhanced many a kyoka that would...