Certaine Errors in Navigation, Detected and Corrected. Edward WRIGHT.
Certaine Errors in Navigation, Detected and Corrected.

A Revolution in Navigational Science

Certaine Errors in Navigation, Detected and Corrected.

Finely engraved title, repeated on *2 (both shaved at outer margin) incorporating a world map on Mercator’s projection; one folding woodcut & letterpress diagram (“the draught of the Meridians”); two engraved illus. of instruments (one full-page) in the text; & 27 woodcut illus., many of instruments, in the text (one shaved at outer margin with slight loss). 26 p.l., 472, 122 pp., 11 leaves (including Oo4 blank). Three parts in one vol. Small 4to, cont. calf (very neatly rebacked, sides a little rubbed). London: F. Kingston, 1610.

Second edition, corrected and enlarged, of the most important and most famous English book on the art of navigation, “a book that set the seal on the supremacy of the English in the theory and practice of the art of navigation at this time. It contained a brilliant summary of all the chief contemporary practices of navigation together with a critical examination of their faults, and either the actual means for eliminating them or else sound guidance on the measures necessary to do away with them…

“Wright’s Certaine Errors was so packed with learning, was such an able survey of navigation practice at the close of the sixteenth century, and by its chart projection introduced such order out of the former cartographical confusion, that it and his other work merit fuller attention than can be devoted to it in a survey of this scope.”–Waters, The Art of Navigation in England, pp. 219-20.

The first edition, which appeared in 1599 and is a famously rare book, caused a “revolution in navigational science, which for the first time [Wright] based firmly on mathematical principles…His fame chiefly rests on his tables of the construction of maps using ‘Mercator's projection’…Wright also formulated instructions for the use of the compass and the cross-staff, made improvements in navigational instruments and gave tables of magnetic declinations.”–Printing & the Mind of Man 106–(1st ed. of 1599).

The second edition is important: “What made this edition…into a navigation manual suitable for all seamen was the inclusion [for the first time] of a translation made by a friend, of a standard Spanish navigation manual of 1588, Zamorano’s Compendio del Arte de Navigar.”–Waters, p. 317.

Like most copies of this edition (save for the Macclesfield copy which sold for 170,000 pounds in 2007), our copy lacks the two large engraved maps, one showing Cumberland’s route to and from the Azores and the other the world map by William Kip. Shirley, in his Mapping of the World, 272, speculates that its great size and possible incompleteness could explain why the world map is rarely found bound with the book.

A fine and crisp copy. Rare with or without the maps.

❧ NSTC 26020.

Price: $50,000.00

Item ID: 2993