Protomathesis. Oronce FINÉ.

A Masterpiece of Illustrated Book Production;

The Riccati Copy


Architectural woodcut title border; a large woodcut of Urania & the author beneath a celestial sphere, repeated in the “Cosmographia” section; a large woodcut of a water-clock, repeated; 280 other woodcuts in the text; and numerous large initials & headpieces. 8 p.l., 207 (i.e. 209) leaves, one leaf of errata. Folio, most attractive early 18th-cent. mottled half-sheep & mottled boards (first two leaves a little discolored), spine gilt, pale brown & green morocco lettering pieces on spine. Paris: [G. Morrhe & J. Pierre], 1532.

First collected edition, and a magnificent large copy of this beautiful book, containing the first printings of many of Finé’s texts; this is his masterpiece of illustrated book production. The first two parts of the Protomathesis deal with arithmetic and geometry, the third with cosmography, and the fourth with gnomonics.

Finé (1494-1555), “was Regius professor of mathematics and dedicated the volume to François I. Before Johnson’s article and Brun’s consideration of Finé, little attention had been paid to the statements made by Finé’s contemporaries that he was considered as well versed in art as in the sciences. His work as a designer is closely related to his major fields of mathematics, astronomy, and geography, and his contribution to book production is particularly interesting in extending beyond the illustration to the ornamentation of scientific texts.”–Mortimer 225.

A fine and fresh copy, very crisp. With the blank leaves F8 and N6. Early 18th-century bookplate of “Co. Riccati.” This was the noble Riccati family which held land near Venice. The family produced two prominent scientists: Jacopo Francesco (1676-1754) and his second son Vincenzo (1707-75). They both made important contributions to mathematics (see D.S.B., XI, pp. 399-402). There are a number of knowledgeable 18th-century annotations in this book which could well have been made by one of the Riccatis.

❧ Hoover 312. Lalande, p. 50–“on trouve les cadrans plans horizontaux, verticaux, équinoxiaux; les cadrans sur les cylindres, les anneaux et les quarts-de-cercle; les hémisphères concaves et convexes; le cadran rectiligne universel des hauteurs; les heures italiques; l’instrument pour trouver l’heure par les étoiles, l’anneau astronomique; un instrument propre à tracer les cadrans; c’est un cercle équinoxial traversé d’un axe, et un fil qu’on tend sur les heures.'' Smith, Rara Arithmetica, pp. 160-61. Stillwell, The Awakening Interest in Science during the First Century of Printing, 838.

Price: $55,000.00

Item ID: 3013

See all items in Astronomy, Geometry, Mathematics, Science
See all items by