Selenographia: sive, Lunae Descriptio…. Johannes HEVELIUS.
Selenographia: sive, Lunae Descriptio…
Selenographia: sive, Lunae Descriptio…
Selenographia: sive, Lunae Descriptio…
Selenographia: sive, Lunae Descriptio…
Selenographia: sive, Lunae Descriptio…
Selenographia: sive, Lunae Descriptio…
Selenographia: sive, Lunae Descriptio…
Selenographia: sive, Lunae Descriptio…

The First Six Works of Hevelius

Selenographia: sive, Lunae Descriptio…

Finely engraved title-page, engraved port. of the author, 111 engraved plates on 91 sheets (3 are folding, engraved volvelle at p. 364 with orig. red silk thread), & numerous engravings in the text. Printed title in red & black. 14 p.l., 563 pp. Folio, fine cont. Dutch vellum over boards (upper joint a little cracked but strong), panelled in blind, covers with arabesque in center of panel, remains of ties. Danzig: Autoris sumtibus, 1647.

[bound with]:

—. Epistolae II. Prior: De Motu Lunae Libratorio, in certas Tabulas redacto… Ad Johannes Bapt. Ricciolum…Posterior: De utriusquè Luminaris defectu Anni 1654. Ad…Petrum Nucerum. Finely engraved vignette on title, one engraving in the text & six engraved plates (one double-page). 1 p.l., 72 pp. Folio. Danzig: Sumtibus Autoris, 1654.

[bound with]:

—. Epistolae IV. I. De observatione deliquii Solis Anno 1649. habitâ. Ad…Laurentium Eichstadium…II. De Eclipsi Solis anno 1652 observatâ. Ad…Pet. Gassendum & Ism. Bullialdum…III. De Motu Lunae Libratorio ad…Joh. Bapt. Ricciolum…IV. De utriusq; Luminaris defectu anni 1654. Ad…Petrum Nucerium. Finely engraved vignette on title, two engravings in the text (one full-page in Epistola II), & seven engraved plates (one double-page). 1 p.l., [Epistola II]: [8] pp.; one blank leaf; [Epistola I]: one double-page folding leaf (printed on pages [1-3], the fourth page is blank) & one plate; [Epistola III & IV]: 72 pp. & six plates. Folio (title a bit dampstained). Danzig: Sumtibus Autoris, 1654.

[bound with]:

—. Dissertatio, De Nativa Saturni Facie, ejusque Variis Phasibus, certa Periodo redeuntibus cui Addita est, tam Eclipseos Solaris anni 1656 Observatio, quàm Diametri Solis apparentis accurata dimensio. Finely engraved vignette on title & four engraved plates. 4 p.l. (the fourth leaf contains directions to the binder, otherwise blank), 40 pp. Danzig: Sumptibus Autoris, 1656.

A magnificent sammelband containing first editions of the first six of Hevelius’s publications, all privately printed. These are fine and large copies with many outer and a few lower edges uncut. This collection comes from the library formed by Sir Christopher Sykes (1749-1801), at Sledmere House in Yorkshire.

I. The author’s first book and one of his greatest; this is the first complete lunar atlas and contains the results of four years’ observations made from Hevelius’s specially built observatory at his home in Danzig. It is the foundation work of lunar topography and the first astronomical atlas to exploit the powers of the telescope.

“The Selenographia proper begins with arguments disproving the ancient idea that the moon is a mirror reflecting the earth; but with the eighth chapter its contents become memorable. There Hevelius delineates and discusses the lunar markings and the movement of libration...Hevelius gave many new names to the lunar mountains, craters, and other formations; most of them are still used. His most profitable task, though, was to draw the moon in different states of libration.”–D.S.B., VI, pp. 361-62.

“No finer book on the moon has ever been published. In scores of illustrations, drawn and engraved by the author himself, Hevelius tracked the moon through every phase of an entire lunar cycle, and then incorporated the information gained into three large moon maps.”–Ashworth, The Face of the Moon. Galileo to Apollo (Linda Hall Library, 1989), 5.

II. This work contains two letters by Hevelius, the first (pp. 1-48) answers Riccioli’s doubts set forth in his Almagestum concerning Hevelius’s theory on the libration of the moon as described in his Selenographia. The second letter (pp. 49-72) is addressed to P. Nucerius (Pierre des Noyers), one of Hevelius’s patrons. It contains observation methods employed and a description of the solar eclipse of August 12 and of the lunar eclipse of 27 August, 1654.

Bound in to this copy are the other two letters (see III) that appeared in the Epistolae IV. I have not included them in my collation for sake of simplicity (but see next title).

III. The Epistolae IV contains the two letters described in II (now numbered III and IV) as well as two further letters inserted. The first of these, addressed to Laurentius Eichstädt, professor of mathematics at Danzig, provides observations of the solar eclipse on 4 November 1649. This letter consists of one double-page folding printed leaf (printed on three sides) and one engraved plate.

The second letter is addressed to Pierre Gassendi and Ismael Bouilliau and contains observations of the solar eclipse of 8 April 1652. This letter consists of [8] pages.

Both of these letters are inserted following the title-page.

IV. The Dissertatio contains Hevelius’s theory of the various configurations of Saturn and the sun’s diameter.

“Hevelius’s works were all printed in Danzig, in folio…Each work is a masterpiece of composition and a fine example of expert printing. The books were generally not sold, but distributed at the author’s discretion…Today all the works of Hevelius are very difficult to obtain.”–Johannes Hevelius (B.Y.U., 1971), p. 83.

Provenance: Inscription of “Cat. V1 P331 CS Sledmere” on inside front cover.

A very fine set of Hevelius’s first works, preserved in a morocco-backed box.

❧ Johannes Hevelius (B.Y.U., 1971) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6 . I. Whitaker, Mapping and Naming of the Moon, pp. 50-57.

Price: $165,000.00

Item ID: 7679

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