Dissertatio, de Nativa Saturni Facie, eiusq, Variis Phasibus, Certa Periodo redeuntibus. Cui Addita est, tam Eclipseos Solaris anni 1656 Observatio, quàm Diametri Solis apparentis accurata dimensio. Johannes HEVELIUS.
Dissertatio, de Nativa Saturni Facie, eiusq, Variis Phasibus, Certa Periodo redeuntibus. Cui Addita est, tam Eclipseos Solaris anni 1656 Observatio, quàm Diametri Solis apparentis accurata dimensio.
Dissertatio, de Nativa Saturni Facie, eiusq, Variis Phasibus, Certa Periodo redeuntibus. Cui Addita est, tam Eclipseos Solaris anni 1656 Observatio, quàm Diametri Solis apparentis accurata dimensio.

Presentation Copy from Hevelius to Athanasius Kircher

Dissertatio, de Nativa Saturni Facie, eiusq, Variis Phasibus, Certa Periodo redeuntibus. Cui Addita est, tam Eclipseos Solaris anni 1656 Observatio, quàm Diametri Solis apparentis accurata dimensio.

Fine engraved vignette on title & four engraved plates. 3 p.l., 40 pp., 1 leaf. Folio, attractive antique panelled calf (minor browning, the leaf “Ordo Figuram” extended). Danzig: Sumptibus Autoris, 1656.

First edition and an important presentation copy, inscribed by Hevelius (1611-87) on the title-page to Athanasius Kircher (1601-80): “Praeclarissimo ac Celeberrimo Viro P. Athanasis Kirchero S.J. amico honorando…Autor.” Near contemporaries, the two scientists had a warm and lasting relationship, which began when Hevelius visited Kircher in Avignon in 1632 and which continued for many years.

From 1627 to 1630, Hevelius privately studied astronomy, instrument making, and engraving with Peter Krüger, a professor of mathematics and astronomy at the Danzig Academy. Following two years of legal studies at Leyden (1630-31), Hevelius travelled to Paris, where he met Gassendi and Peiresc, and then went on to Avignon to meet Kircher, who already had established quite a scientific reputation for himself. While there, Hevelius used his skills as an engraver to prepare the frontispiece for Kircher’s second book, Primitiae Gnomonicae Catoptricae, published in 1635.

As they continued in their scientific careers, Hevelius in Danzig and Kircher in Rome, the two maintained an active correspondence on scientific matters (14 letters from Hevelius to Kircher are known to survive). Kircher established himself as a clearinghouse and disseminator of news, gathering reports on eclipses and other astronomical phenomena, and supplying astronomers including Hevelius, Cassini, and Riccioli with valuable information.

As Hevelius produced his richly illustrated, privately printed books on astronomy, he presented several of them to Kircher. Our copy is one example, and we know that Kircher was given a copy of Hevelius’s Selenographia as well.

“Contains Hevelius’s theory of the various configurations of Saturn and the sun’s diameter.”–Brigham Young University, J. Hevelius, 6.

Fine copy. The leaf “Ordo Figuram” is often missing. From the inventory of Volkoff & von Hohenlohe, with their stock note.

❧ John E. Fletcher, “Astronomy in the Life and Correspondence of Athanasius Kircher” in ISIS (Vol. 61, No. 1, Spring 1970), pp. 52-67.

Price: $40,000.00

Item ID: 6707

See all items by