Rare Book Gallery
A DESCRIPTION OF NEW ENGLAND: OR THE...
Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana
London: Printed by Humfrey Lownes, for Robert Clerke, 1616.. ,61,pp. plus folding engraved map of New England. Small quarto. Full calf in... More
London: Printed by Humfrey Lownes, for Robert Clerke, 1616.. ,61,pp. plus folding engraved map of New England. Small quarto. Full calf in antique style. Light dampstaining on top edge. Some careful expert paper restoration to upper foremargins of first ten leaves or so (including titlepage), and to a lesser extent on some later leaves. Map trimmed to the neat line, with a very small hole (4 x 25 mm.) at center in the ocean, neatly filled in. Some contemporary manuscript on verso of title- leaf and first text leaf. A nice copy. One of the great rarities of colonial Americana, Smith's A DESCRIPTION OF NEW ENGLAND... was, according to Streeter, "the pilgrim's principal guide to their American haven." Based on Smith's two visits to the New England coast in 1614 and 1615, this book did much to encourage later settlement in New England, preceding by four years the sailing of the Mayflower. In fact, Smith named Plymouth Rock, and described the place as "an excellent good harbour, good lands, and no want of anything but industrious people." Smith's first voyage was financed by a group of London merchants, with the primary objective being the search for whales and gold mines (the gold mines turned out to be "the masters device to get a voyage"). That first visit was relatively brief but afforded ample opportunities for trading with the Indians and for the collection of much geographical and natural history information. On his second voyage in 1615, Smith met with less success; thwarted by storms and pirates, he was eventually taken prisoner by a French warship. During his free time as a captive, Smith wrote A DESCRIPTION OF NEW ENGLAND..., destined to reveal the advantages and prospects for future adventurers to the region. "The use of the term 'New England' on the title page of this book established that name for the region that until then had been called North Virginia. The 'altered names' leaf, inserted between A4 and B1, records thirty new names chosen by Prince Charles to replace the mainly Indian place names of New England. All of the new names seem to have stuck except Cape James for Cape Cod" - Streeter. The rare map, printed by George Low, is here present in the fourth state as described by Sabin, Church, and Burden (there are nine recorded states of the map). Only the exceedingly rare first two states of the map properly belong with the book, both produced in 1616 (most copies, however, contain later states of the map; the only copy in some decades to have the first issue was the Siebert copy). Based on surveys made by Captain Smith for the Council for New England, the map is considered the foundation of New England cartography. It stands as the first map on which the name New England appears. The map depicts the area from the present Penobscot Bay in Maine, to Cape Cod. A monumental American rarity of the greatest possible importance. While not the main entry in PRINTING AND THE MIND OF MAN, Smith's GENERALL HISTORIE..., this work appeared eight years earlier, and is wholly incorporated into that work. CHURCH 369 (originally with 6th state of the map, but with the Britwell Court 1st state later substituted). BURDEN 187. STC 22788. VAIL 40. JCB II, pp.113-15. SABIN 82819. STREETER SALE 610. STREETER, AMERICANA BEGINNINGS 11. EUROPEAN AMERICANA 616/107. SIEBERT SALE 94. SCHWARTZ & EHRENBERG, pp.96-99. DEK, PICTURING AMERICA 19 (illustrating one of the NYPL copies). PRINTING AND THE MIND OF MAN 124. Less
Price: 125000.00 USD
Harmonices Mundi Libri V
Bookseller: Jonathan A. Hill, Bookseller, Inc.
Five engraved plates & numerous woodcut diagrams & illus. in the text. 4 p.l., 66 (i.e. 64), 255 pp. Folio, cont. vellum over boards... More
Five engraved plates & numerous woodcut diagrams & illus. in the text. 4 p.l., 66 (i.e. 64), 255 pp. Folio, cont. vellum over boards (binding a little warped, bottom corner of lower cover a little worn, occasional browning but rather less than usual), ties gone. Linz: J. Planck for G. Tampach, 1619. First edition, first issue, and a fine copy of this great book. Copies of the first issue are distinctly rare. This epochal work contains Kepler's discovery of the third law of planetary motion. Kepler regarded this work as his crowning achievement in elucidating the harmonic regularities of the universe. It was Kepler's three laws which formed the basis of Newton's principle of universal gravitation. "In the Mysterium cosmographicum the young Kepler had been satisfied with the rather approximate planetary spacings predicted by his nested polyhedrons and spheres; now [in 1619], imbued with a new respect for data, he could no longer dismiss its 5 percent error. In the astronomical book V of the Harmonice mundi, he came to grips with this central problem: By what secondary principles did God adjust the original archetypal model based on the regular solids?... "In the course of this investigation, Kepler hit upon the relation now called his third or harmonic law: The ratio that exists between the periodic times of any two planets is precisely the ratio of the 3/2 power of the mean distances...the law gave him great pleasure, for it so neatly linked the planetary distances with their velocities or periods, thus fortifying the a priori premises of the Mysterium and the Harmonice."-D.S.B., VII, pp. 301-02. An attractive copy in a contemporary binding. Two cm. strip at head of title clipped away and renewed at an early date, small rectangle (2.5 x 1.5 cm.) of blank portion of title renewed at a more recent date, and two small burn holes in title caused by an ink inscription. Several early inscriptions on title including: "auctori damnari et operis cum expurgat neo permissi." ❧ Caspar 58. Dibner, Heralds of Science, 6. Gingerich, Rara Astronomica, 33. Horblit 58. Printing & the Mind of Man 112. Sparrow, Milestones of Science, 115. . Less
Price: 235000.00 USD
Monograph of the Paradiseidae, or...
SHARPE, Richard Bowdler (1847-1909)
Bookseller: Donald Heald Rare Books
London: Taylor & Francis for Henry Sotheran & Co, 1891-98. 2 volumes in 8 original parts, large folio. (22 3/16 x 15 1/16 inches). Smaller... More
London: Taylor & Francis for Henry Sotheran & Co, 1891-98. 2 volumes in 8 original parts, large folio. (22 3/16 x 15 1/16 inches). Smaller format letterpress "Notice to Subscribers" tipped in at front of part VI, smaller format "Completion of the work" notice from the publishers tipped in at front of part VIII. 79 fine hand-coloured lithographic plates by William Mathew Hart, after his own drawings (52) and John Gould (20) or John Gerrard Keulemans (7), 13 uncoloured illustrations. Original pictorial grey paper-covered boards, dark blue cloth spines, the upper cover of each part with the letterpress title beneath a large wood-engraved title vignette, the eight parts contained in two dark green morocco-backed cloth boxes, the spines in six compartments with raised bands, lettered in the second and third compartments, the others with repeat decoration in gilt made up from various small tools. A very fine copy of this, the first monograph devoted to these remarkable birds and the "last of the fine bird books" (Fine Bird Books p.107). This copy, in original parts, with the best colouring of any copy that we have handled in past forty years. The remarkable-looking Birds of Paradise have captivated western science since Magellan first brought back a skin of such a creature in 1522. The skins, highly prized by East Indian natives, was given by the ruler of Batchian (in the Mollucas) as a gift to the King of Spain. The legs and wings of the bird, however, had been removed when skinned, presumably to better show its impressive plumage. When asked why the bird had no wings or feet, the natives replied that none were needed as the bird simply floated in its heavenly paradise. Thus, the earliest descriptions of the species, and indeed even its scientific naming by Linnaeus in the 18th century as Paradisaea apoda (legless bird of paradise), perpetuated that myth. Due to the remote nature of their rain forest habitat in New Guinea, it was not until the mid-19th century that these remarkable birds were first scientifically observed and accurately described. Gould had intended to publish a the first monograph devoted to the birds of paradise following completion of his Birds of New Guinea, but he did not live to do so. When Sharpe took over the task of completing that work, he appealed for subscribers for the proposed monograph. The response was clearly enthusiastic as within three years the first part of the present work was published. Some of the plates had previously appeared in Gould's Birds of New Guinea as "Messrs. Sotheran purchased the stock of Gould's works after his death [and] acquired the stones with which he had intended to illustrate his Monograph... Many of them were broken or otherwise damaged, and of these some have been redrawn or replaced by new plates by Mr. Hart. Since Gould's time, however, many marvelous new species have been discovered, and these have been described and figured in the present work" (Appendix). As the small format slip in part six makes clear, the timing of the publication of the work could not have been better, as so many beautiful new species were discovered whilst the work was in preparation that Sharpe felt justified in extending the size of the work from six to eight parts. Copies of this work were issued at a later date with inferior hand-colouring. The quality of the colouring of the plates in the present copy is outstanding, and it is only with examples of this work in the original parts that the colouring can be guaranteed to be contemporary with the original publication dates. Copies such as the present example are very rare: only three are listed as having sold at auction in the past thirty years. Fine Bird Books (1990) p.107; Nissen IVB 581; Ripley 263; Wood, p.565; Zimmer, p.581. Less
Price: 95000.00 USD