BESSON, Jacques (d.1569?). Le Cosmolabe. Ou instrument universel, concernant toutes observations qui se peuvent faire par les sciences mathematiques ... Le Cosmographe instrument adjoinct el la superieure partie du cosmolabe au lieu de l'atlas, lequel sert particulierement pour la corographie. Paris: Philibert Gautier de Rouillé, 1567-1569.
2 parts in one volume, 4° (201 x 157mm). Collation: pt i: A-Z4 2A-2E4 (Le Cosmolabe); pt ii: 2F-2I4 2K2 (Le Cosmographe). Woodcut allegorical border on title, woodcut vignette on part ii title, one folding woodcut plate, woodcut illustrations and diagrams, 41 full-page, 3 full-page letterpress tables, woodcut head- and tailpieces, and initials. (Occasional light inkmarking, light browning and dampstaining, clean tear on plate neatly reinforced on verso with fragment of 16th-century manuscript.) Contemporary limp vellum, ties, titled on the spine in a 16th-century hand, lettering-piece at head of spine lettered in a [?]17th-century hand (vellum somewhat marked and cockled, lacking ties on upper cover). Provenance: Erignon (16th-century inscription on title) -- Joseph A. Freilich (his sale, Sotheby's NY, 10-11 January 2001, lot 57).
BESSON'S RARE WORK. Besson was professor of mathematics at Orleans, and devised many instruments, the fabrication and use of which he described in his various works. The present title consists of two parts, each dedicated to a separate instrument. Le Cosmolabe is divided into three parts: the first treats of the instrument's use for astronomical observations; the second of its use for determining longitudes on land and at sea; and the third of its geometric and chorographic uses. Le Cosmographe is, as Besson notes in his preface, a simpler instrument, designed for geometric and chorographic purposes. Both parts are well illustrated with woodcuts depicting both the instruments and their component parts and diagrams explaining the mathematically theory behind their usage. Only 4 copies of Le Cosmolabe including parts i and ii are recorded at auction since 1975 (the Honeyman, Horblit, Freilich and New York Historical Society copies, the latter lacking the folding plate). Adams B-842 (part i only); Brunet I, 830; Cioranesco La Littérature française du siezième siècle 3771 (Le Cosmolabe) and 3772 (Le Cosmographe); Houzeau and Lancaster 2653 (Le Cosmolabe) and 2654 (Le Cosmographe); Wellcome I, 829.