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    Sale 7548

    Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books

    12 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 128

    MOORE, Sir Jonas (1627-1679). A New Systeme of the Mathematicks. London: A[nne] Godbid and J[ohn] Playford for Robert Scott, 1681.

    Price Realised  


    MOORE, Sir Jonas (1627-1679). A New Systeme of the Mathematicks. London: A[nne] Godbid and J[ohn] Playford for Robert Scott, 1681.

    Eight parts in two volumes, 4° (vol. 1: 234 x 180mm; vol. 2: 232 x 178mm). Vol. 1: Additional engraved title, first letterpress title printed in red and black, corrected letterpress text tipped-in at bottom of p.185; 43 plates (of which 39 folding), one of these with volvelle, engravings in text (one with volvelle); 'The Doctrine of the Sphere' and 'Arithmetick in Species' with separate title-page, pagination, and signatures; separate titles to 'The Six First Books of Euclid's Elements', 'The Eleventh and Twelfth Book of Euclid's Elements', and 'The Doctrine of the Surds' (all of these dated 1680); 'Astronomical Tables...' has separate undated title with the author J Mathesin à Sole Fundes (an anagram for Johannes Flamsteedius); plate 6, now opposite p.126, was intended for binding between pp.102-103; the 8 pages of the Contents have been incorrectly composed by printer with b1v and b3v reversed, etc. (Marginal repairs to additional engraved title, title, and a1, small lower corner stain affecting 16 leaves at beginning, occasional very light browning.) Vol. 2: 52 maps (of which 46 folding); 'Table of Logarithms' and 'A New Geography, The Second Book' with new pagination and signatures, 'A New Geography ... with Maps to each Country, and Tables of Longitude and Latitude' with separate title-page, pagination, and signatures. Contemporary near uniform blind-ruled calf (rebacked). Provenance: 'W.J.L.' (early 20th-century bookplate in vol. 2).

    RARE FIRST EDITION: only three complete sets have sold at auction in the past 30 years. Moore's scarce mathematical work was issued in lavish style, and is complemented by a finely engraved series of plates and maps illustrative of algebra, geometry, trigonometry, cosmography, navigation, astronomy and geography including descriptions of several parts of America. As surveyor general of the royal ordnance (appointed 28 July, 1669) and a Fellow of the Royal Society, Moore had made the Tower of London a centre of scientific observation and patronage. Most notably, Moore instructed the young John Flamsteed and Edmund Halley. Flamsteed and the master of the Royal Mathematical School at Christ's Hospital, Peter Perkins, prepared the present work for posthumous publication, after Moore's sudden death in 1679.

    The work was priced at 35s, 'an exceptionally high figure' according to Taylor, especially since it was intended as a textbook for the Royal Mathematical School, whose original purpose was to train mathematicians and navigators for careers as naval officers or merchant seafarers. The fine engravings depict numerous navigational instruments, including a volvelle demonstrating nocturnal observations and another depicting a compass.

    In volume 2, the chapter 'A New Geography ...' (partly by Halley) CONTAINS 9 MAPS OF THE AMERICAS (New England; Virginia; New Mexico; Florida; New Spain [Mexico]; Guiana; Brazil and La Plata; Peru, Chili and Magellanica; and the Leeward Islands). The map of Europe is engraved by Herman Moll (1654?-1732), the Dutch engraver, who had moved to London c.1680.

    The definitive collation of the work has not been established. Adams & Waters 2557; Crone 295-96 (includes one additional plate at 2E1); Houzeau & Lancaster 8796; Sabin 50415; Taylor, Mathematical Practitioners 413; Wing M-2579.

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