Finely engraved frontis. of the interior of the Imperial Library in Vienna, 43 folding engraved plates, 17 engravings in the text (including 8 full-page), engraved plan of Vienna on title, engraved headpiece, & one initial. Title printed in red & black. 12 p.l. (incl. the frontis.), 210 pp., one leaf of errata. Folio, cont. mottled sheep (dampstain, for the most part quite faint, in lower portion of final 40 leaves), spine richly gilt, contrasting leather lettering piece on spine. Vienna: L.J. Kaliwoda, 1745.
First edition, first issue, of this luxuriously printed and illustrated volume; this is a particularly fine and handsome copy. This work describes and illustrates the astronomical instruments in the private observatory of G.J. Marinoni (1676-1755), mathematician and astronomer to the Imperial Court of Austria and geodetic surveyor. Like the private observatories of Tycho Brahe in the 16th century and Hevelius in the 17th century, Marinoni’s observatory was one of the most beautiful and best equipped in Europe in his time. He built his own instruments and those illustrated here include quadrants, telescopes, micrometers, an improved Graham pendulum, and a camera obscura. Marinoni left all the instruments to the Empress Maria Theresa, to whom this work is dedicated.
“In 1755…in connection with a general reform of the University of Vienna, the Hapsburgs decided to establish a great central astronomical observatory. Its basic equipment was to be the instruments of the late imperial mathematician and geodetic survey, J.J. de Marinoni, who had made his house, on a relatively favorable site at the edge of Vienna, into an astronomical observatory.”–D.S.B., VI, p. 233.
It should be noted that many of the instruments are still preserved at the Vienna Observatory.
A fine, crisp, and large copy. Our copy is a first issue with the title dated 1745 and with only one leaf of errata (the second issue is dated 1746 with an additional leaf of errata). Contemporary signature of “P. Theodorici Byhers Prof Cremisans 1746” and with the arms in gilt of the Kremsmünster Academy on upper cover.
❧ Boffito, p. 129 & plate 81. Poggendorff, II, 53. Riccardi, II, 119–“Bellissima ediz.” Turner, Early Scientific Instruments. Europe 1400-1800, p. 223–“a remarkable collection of equipment.”.
Item ID: 3302