BLAEU, Willem Janszoon (1588-1664). Le Flambeau de la Navigation monstrant la description & delineation de toutes les Costes & Havres de la Mer Occidentale, Septentrionale & Orientale. Amsterdam: Jan Jansson, 1620.
First French edition of Blaeu’s important pilot book, Het licht der zee-vaert, published by his competitor Jansson, this copy acquired in 1636 expressly for the renowned astronomer Peiresc, and subsequently owned by the celebrated circumnavigator Freycinet. Astronomer, naturalist and patron of science, who counted Galileo, Gassendi and Pinelli among his circle, Peiresc was the first (with Gaultier) in France to observe Jupiter and its moons in 1610, only months after Galileo’s own discovery of them. He continued his planetary observations to calculate terrestrial longitudes. Most significantly, he correctly measured the Mediterranean for the first time in the summer of 1636, showing that previous cartographers had it c. 300 leagues larger than it is. He continued to immerse himself in navigational literature and in August of that year wrote to Jacques Dupuy at Paris, asking him to find and send him the 1620 edition of Blaeu’s Flambeau, this very book (Lettres de Peiresc, 3; 543; and cf. P. Miller, Peiresc’s Mediterranean World, 2015). Peiresc’s extensive library, mostly uniformly bound by his in-house binder Simon Corberon, was inherited by Peiresc’s brother, whose son began dispersals as early as 1645/46. Peiresc's books are notable for being amongst the first to have the volume's date stamped on the spine (cf. G. Pollard, 'Changes in the Style of Bookbinding 1550-1830', in The Library, 5th, series, XI, 2, June 1956, p. 90). The volume later joined the extensive cartographic library and archive formed by French circumnavigator Freycinet, the first to map the full Australian coastline.
The original Dutch version, Het licht der zee-vaert, was published by Willem Janszoon Blaeu in 1608. A French translation followed in 1619, and in 1620 the present edition by Jansson appeared, with the Blaeu's text and the plates re-engraved with some minor alterations. The three parts consist of an Introduction, an instruction in the art of navigation, the first Book on Western navigation and the second Book on Eastern and Northern navigation. Koeman IV M.Bl 23J (5 copies).
3 parts in one volume, oblong folio (265 x 295mm). Half-title, engraved title with French-language printed overslip pasted on, engraved frontispiece, 2 letterpress part-titles with woodcut vignettes, 42 engraved charts (40 double-page) on guards, numerous diagrams (one [of 2] with moveable volvelles) and coastal profiles in text (diagram on C3r missing volvelle, some light browning, occasional faint marginal dampstain, erasure in chapter heading on D3r replaced in early manuscript). French red morocco of c.1636, bound for Peiresc [presumably by Simon Corberan, his binder at Aix-en-Provence], his gilt cypher on boards, triple fillet border, spine gilt in compartments, titled and dated in one (skilful repairs to head and foot of joints). Provenance: Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc (1580-1637; binding) - Louis-Claude de Saulces de Freycinet (1779-1842; inscription on flyleaf and title) - 19th century French annotation in pencil in the margin of a table.