23 November 2011
PROPERTY OF A DISTINGUISHED EUROPEAN COLLECTOR
AGRICOLA, Georgius (1494-1555). De re metallica libri XII. -De animantibus subterraneis liber. Basel: Hieronymus Froben and Nicholas Episcopius, March 1556.
2° (345 x 227mm). With blank \ka\k6. 2 woodcut plates, woodcut illustrations and diagrams throughout. (Light soiling on the title and occasional light soiling in the margins.) Early 19th-century quarter sheep over sprinkled boards, morocco lettering-piece (joints repaired, extremities rubbed). Provenance: J. Pichez (partially deleted title signature; shelf-marks on the title).
FIRST EDITION OF 'THE FIRST SYSTEMATIC TREATISE ON MINING AND METALLURGY AND ONE OF THE FIRST TECHNOLOGICAL BOOKS OF MODERN TIMES' (PMM). A handsome, uncommonly tall and fresh copy, with wider margins than both the Feinsilber and Green copies. De re metallica combines a profound technical and financial knowledge of mining with an underlying interest in the health and daily routine of mine workers. The twelve books include important sections on mechanical engineering, the use of water-power, blowing of furnaces, transport of ores, and 'embrace everything connected with the mining industry and metallurgical processes, including administration, prospecting, the duties of officials and companies, and the manufacture of glass, sulphur and alum' (PMM). The fine series of almost 300 woodcuts, some signed with the monogram 'RMD', were used for 101 years in seven editions, and are generally attributed to Hans Rudolf Manuel Deutsch (fl.1525-1572) or, less commonly, Blasius Weffring. Adams A-349; Brunet I, 113; Dibner Heralds 88; Duveen pp.4-5; Grolier Science 2b; Hoover 17; Norman 20; PMM 79.
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