• Valuable Printed Books and Man auction at Christies

    Sale 5334

    Valuable Printed Books and Manuscripts

    13 June 2012, London, King Street

  • Lot 62

    GALILEI, Galileo (1564-1642). Il saggiatore. Rome: Giacomo Mascardi, 1623.

    Price Realised  


    GALILEI, Galileo (1564-1642). Il saggiatore. Rome: Giacomo Mascardi, 1623.

    4° (216 x 155mm). Engraved title, engraved portrait, diagrams and vignette on final page. (Marginal tear to title, clean tear to dedication, small marginal clean tear to P4, spotting and browning.) Modern boards, new endpapers. Provenance: Vincenzo Pellicciotti (18th-century ownership inscription) -- Paolo Pellicciotti.

    FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE of 'one of the most celebrated polemics in science' (DSB). Il saggiatore was a response to Orazio Grassi's treatise on comets (1618). Galileo had been forbidden since 1616 to defend Copernican theory and he therefore avoided direct discussion on the earth's motion. Instead he chose to establish a general scientific approach to the investigation of celestial phenomena and he claimed that no theory of comets should be advanced unless it was proved that comets were concrete moving objects and not solar-generated optic effect. The title-page by Francesco Villamena shows the crest of the Barberini displaying the support of Pope Urban VIII, patron of the Accademia dei Lincei, which may have helped Galileo to publish the work. With the 4 leaves of preliminary verse by Faber and Stelluti sometimes lacking. DSB V, p. 243; Carli-Favaro 95; Cinti 73; Norman I, 857; Riccardi I, 511.

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