FLAMSTEED, John (1646-1719). Atlas coelestis. London: 1753. 2° (540 x 377mm). Engraved frontispiece portrait of the author by Vertue after T. Gibson, engraved title-vignette by L. du Guernier after I.B. Catenaro, 28 double-page celestial charts by Flamsteed (numbered 1-27, one not numbered), one engraved head- and tailpiece, historiated initial (margins of frontispiece a little soiled, light staining affecting dedication, very light soiling or slight browning throughout, light marginal thumb-soiling). Contemporay half calf, manuscript paper label on front cover (front cover and front endpaper detached, worn). Provenance: Joseph Mintern (Killmurry, Passage West, Co. Cork, presentation inscription to the British Astronomical Association dated February 1914) -- Cork Institution (stamp on title) -- British Astronomical Association (stamps on title and one at the end of text).
First published in 1729, this is the most important star atlas of the eighteenth century. "One of Flamsteed's principal motives in publishing the atlas was to correct what Flamsteed felt were serious errors in Bayer's depiction of the constellation figures. Bayer had reversed many of the figures, showing them from the rear instead of the front, and these new positions contradicted the traditional star descriptions (i.e., Ptolemy's "star in the right shoulder" of Orion had become, in Bayer's rendering, the star in the left shoulder). Since most stars were still referred to by their Ptolemaic labels, Flamsteed objected to Bayer's revisions as introducing unneccessary confusion into stellar astronomy, and so all his figures follow the traditional descriptions exactly" (Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering and Technology). Brunet II, 1280.