London, South Kensington
12 November 2007
SELVA, Lorenzo (c.1716-1800). Sei dialoghi ottici teorico-pratici. Venice: Simone Occhi, 1787. 4° (273 x 194mm). 4 folding engraved plates bound to throw-clear, woodcut initials and type ornaments, Errata leaf Z4 (occasional very light marginal spotting). Contemporary Italian half vellum over patterned boards, gilt spine with morocco lettering-piece (vellum lightly marked, corners and boards lightly rubbed). Provenance: 'S' in crayon on upper board.
A LARGE, FRESH COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION. Lorenzo Selva was the son of the highly-regarded Venetian optician Domenico Selva (d. 1758). He worked in and carried on his father's business after his death, publishing Esposizione delle comuni, a description of his father's optical instruments, in 1761. Of the four finely-engraved plates which illustrate Sei dialoghi, plates I and II (which depict refracting and reflecting telescopes, miscroscopes, and other optical instruments) first appeared in Esposizione delle comuni, and plates III-IV (which depict surveying instruments, telescopes and microscopes, etc.) were prepared for this work. Riccardi notes of Sei dialoghi that Selva 'ha in vista di render noti, in modo affatto popolare ed in forma di dialogo, gl'importanti perfezionamenti da lui immaginati nella construzione degli strumenti ottici'. Riccardi I(2) 436, no. 4.
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