BODE, Johann Elert (1747-1826). Uranographia, sive astrorum descriptio. Berlin: by the author, 1801.
2° (630 x 422mm). Double-page engraved title, 20 double-page engraved celestial maps, all coloured later and the stars heightened in gold. (Occasional light marginal dampstain and occasional light marginal soiling, short tear in one plate.) Contemporary half calf, flat spine in compartments with a gilt Greek key roll tool, red morocco label in the central compartment (spine ends chipped, joints starting, corners rubbed, sides scuffed, short repaired tear in endpaper). Provenance: Gerald F. Fitzgerald (his sale, Sotheby’s, 14 May 2013, lot 81).
FIRST EDITION OF ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT CELESTIAL ATLASES, ‘the most extensive and last great atlas of its kind’ (Warner). This beautiful production set a new benchmark in the field, and proved itself a true successor to the great atlases of Bayer, Hevelius and Flamsteed. ‘Until the later nineteenth century Bode's remained the most comprehensive celestial atlas ever published, the first to attempt a complete representation of all 15,000 naked-eye stars’ (Whitfield). Bode played an important role in the development of astronomy in Germany, becoming Royal Astronomer and a member of the Berlin Academy. He gave the name Uranus to Herschel's newly discovered planet. His atlas is noted for a number of stars lying outside of the constellations, and he proposed the concept of boundaries to these constellations that would, with later adjustments, become ‘fundamental to astronomy’ (Whitfield). Warner 7; Whitfield, p.104.