• Fine Printed Books and Manuscr auction at Christies

    Sale 5475

    Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts

    7 June 2010, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 93

    KEPLER, Johannes (1571-1630). Harmonices mundi libri V. Linz: Johannes Plank for Gottfried Tampach, 1619. 2° (296 x 190mm). First state of general title with printer's device and without text beginning 'Accessit nunc...', dedication to King James I of England (*2r-*4r) later suppressed by Kepler and absent from some copies. 5 engraved plates, numerous woodcut text diagrams and illustrations after Wilhelm Schickard, woodcut musical notation in Book III. (Lacks quire C, old repairs to title, heavy ink erasures to dedication leaves creating holes in *3-4, plates browned and slightly waterstained, some browning of text and persistent light waterstain at upper margin.) Contemporary vellum with yapp edges, spine titled and dated in manuscript, red edges (bowed, stains to rear cover, ties lacking). Provenance: Pedro de Faycon (with note dated 1707 stating that the erasures conform with the Papal Index of 1640).

    Price Realised  

    KEPLER, Johannes (1571-1630). Harmonices mundi libri V. Linz: Johannes Plank for Gottfried Tampach, 1619. 2° (296 x 190mm). First state of general title with printer's device and without text beginning 'Accessit nunc...', dedication to King James I of England (*2r-*4r) later suppressed by Kepler and absent from some copies. 5 engraved plates, numerous woodcut text diagrams and illustrations after Wilhelm Schickard, woodcut musical notation in Book III. (Lacks quire C, old repairs to title, heavy ink erasures to dedication leaves creating holes in *3-4, plates browned and slightly waterstained, some browning of text and persistent light waterstain at upper margin.) Contemporary vellum with yapp edges, spine titled and dated in manuscript, red edges (bowed, stains to rear cover, ties lacking). Provenance: Pedro de Faycon (with note dated 1707 stating that the erasures conform with the Papal Index of 1640).

    FIRST EDITION of Kepler's great cosmological treatise, containing the third law of planetary motion. An ardent Copernican, Kepler accepted that the sun was near the centre of the universe, but he went farther by attributing physical force to it. Books I and II are concerned with the geometrical foundation of universal harmony, beginning with a detailed exposition of Euclid's Elements. He discusses polygons and polyhedrons and -- for the first -- stellated dodecahedrons. Book III investigates harmonic proportions and music theory, while Book IV contains the fullest expression of his astrological views. Book V is devoted to astronomy and contains his third law, stating that 'the square of the period of time of a planet is proportional to the cube of its mean distance from the sun' (Dibner). Caspar 58; Dibner Heralds 6; Grolier/Horblit 58; Houzeau & Lancaster 11832; Zinner 4737; Norman 1207.


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