BACON, Sir Francis (1561-1626). Instauratio magna. [Novum organum]. London: [Bonham Norton and] John Bill, 1620.
2° (334 x 208mm). Engraved title by Simon van der Pass. Woodcut headpieces and large historiated initials. With blank c4 but without the first and last blanks. (Some marginal soiling and spotting.) Contemporary calf gilt (neatly rebacked); red cloth box with ties. Provenance: William Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Devonshire (1672-1729; bookplate on title verso) — Harrison D. Horblitt (book label, part 1 of his sale, Sotheby’s, London, 10-11 June 1974, lot 68 to:) — the House of El Dieff (Lew David Feldman) — Haven O’More and Michael Davis (purchased from Feldman in March 1977; sold in the Collection of the Garden Ltd., Sotheby’s New York, 9-10 November 1989, lot 84).
THE DEVONSHIRE-HORBLITT-GARDEN COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE. A LARGE- PAPER COPY, published in October 1620 with Norton’s name in the colophon. The volume consists of a preface, a plan of the whole work, the incomplete second part (Novum organum), and a preparative to the third part of natural and experimental histories, as well as a catalogue of particular histories. The Instauratio, relatively short at 33 pages, is the preliminary material of Bacon’s entire philosophical plan; part two, the Novum organum, consists of his great unfinished treatise on the scientific method. In sending a copy of the book to James I, the dedicatee, Bacon explained his overall scheme and the particular intention of the Novum organum: ‘The work, in what colours soever it may be set forth, is no more but a new logic, teaching to invent and judge by induction, (as finding syllogism incompetent for sciences of nature), and thereby to make philosophy and sciences both more true and more active’ (Works, 14.119–20). ESTC notes that ‘about 15 copies are printed on large paper, with a large crown watermark… The large paper copies were printed last, and have all but one of the errors in pagination corrected, as well as two of the errors listed in the errata of the second issue.’ Gibson 103a; Pforzheimer, App. 1; PMM 335 119; STC 1162.