17 June 2008
HEVELIUS, Johannes (1611-1687). Selenographia: sive Lunae description; atqueaccurata, tam Macularum eius delineatio Addita est, lentes expoliendi nova ratio. Danzig: Andreas Hënefeld for the author, 1647.
2o (340 x 225 mm). Half-title with conjugate blank leaf, title printed in red and black. Engraved frontispiece by Jeremias Falck after Adolf Boy with portraits of Alhazen and Galileo, engraved author portrait by J. Falck after Helmich von Iwenhusen the Younger, 110 engraved plates by Hevelius (including 20 leaves printed recto and verso, one with volvelle and 3 double-page), 26 text engravings. (Some occasional pale dampstaining in lower margin.) Contemporary English panelled calf, (rebacked retaining original spine label, some wear to corners). Provenance: Christ College Canterbury (book plate on verso of half-title with cancellation stamp, shelf marks in ink on recto of half-title).
FINE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST COMPLETE LUNAR ATLAS. Most of Hevelius' books were destroyed in a great fire at the author's house in September 1679. Hevelius's first important work, the Selenographia contains the results of 4-years' observations from the specially built observatory (at one point the finest in the world) at his house in Danzig, using instruments of his own construction. Hevelius describes his instruments in detail, recounts his observations of the planets and discusses lunar markings and the movement of libration (an irregularity of the moon's motion). His observations of the lunar eclipse on 4 November 1649 are contained in an appendix between pp.548-549. The Selenographia ends with a description of a mounted lunar globe, "perhaps the first of its kind, permitting the representation of librational movements" (DSB). Many of the names given to lunar features by Hevelius are still in use. The fine engravings depicting his instruments and lunar maps are by his own hand. According to the index this copy is complete with its 110 plates (the collation of plates varies between 110 and 111 plates), this copy does not contain the double-page letterpress table of eclipses. Brunet III:150; BYU/Hevelius 1; Cinti 120; Houzeau & Lancaster 1252; Honeyman 1672; Wardington 1030 (same collation for plates and no mention of the plate for eclipses). See lot 45 for Hevelius's copy of Tycho Brahe's Epistolarum.
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