BOREL, Pierre (1620-1689). De vero telescopii inventore, cum brevi omnium conspiciliorum historia ... accessit etiam centuria observationum microcospicarum. The Hague: Adriaan Vlacq, 1655-56. [Bound with: HUDDE, Johannes (1628-1704).] Specilla Circularia. ‘Dabam’: n.p., 25 April 1656.
2 works in one volume, small 4° (196 x 152mm). With errata. Engraved portrait of Hans Lipperhey by J. van Meurs after Berckman, one folding engraved plate, one engraved illustration, woodcut illustrations, including one of a telescope. (Lacking the portrait of Zacharias Janssen.) 18th-century vellum, spine titled in manuscript (vellum darkened). Provenance: ?Gerard Meerman (1722-1771, bibliophile; his sale, June 1824, lot 897); an 18th-century reader (light marginalia and emendations).
FIRST EDITION of the first full account of the invention of the telescope and microscope. BOUND WITH A HITHERTO LOST WORK: Hudde’s Specilla Circularia, which rejects Descartes’ views on spherical aberration, and his call for the manufacture of aspherical lenses. This tract was previously known in only two later manuscript copies (see Vermij and Atzema). This copy is likely to be from the renowned collection of Gerard Meerman: the catalogue of his auction describes a copy of Borel bound with Hudde (lot 897). In addition to discussing early inventors, Borel’s work also contains Christiaan Huygens's preliminary announcement, in anagram form, of his discovery of Saturn’s rings, and its moon Titan, three years before it was announced in Systema saturnium (book II p. 63, 'annuto cingitur, tenui, plano, nusquam coherente, ad eclipticam inclinato'). 'By publication of the anagram he [Borel] was able to establish his priority before full disclosure of the discovery' (Norman). Borel 'also describes a "polemoscope", a 1637 invention designed for looking around corners, which is particularly useful in warfare' (DSB). Borel was the first to apply microscopy to medicine, and the second part of the book is devoted to microscopic observations. It also gives a full account of the construction of telescopes and microscopes and discusses ways to grind lenses for both these instruments. Garrison-Morton 261; Gedeon pp.64-6; Krivatsy 1569; Norman 268; Vermij and Atzema, 'Specilla Circularia: an Unknown Work by Johannes Hudde' in Studia Leibnitiana 27 (1): pp.104-121; Wellcome II, p.204.