16 - 17 April 2007
BIANCHINI, Francesco (1662-1729). Hespheri et Phosphori nova phaenomena sive observationes circa planetam Veneris. Roma: Giovanni Maria Salvioni, 1728.
2o (397 x 267 mm). Title printed in red and black. Engraved frontispiece by Pozzi incorporating a portrait of John V of Portugal, engraved vignette on title, 10 engraved plates (4 folding), and 3 engraved illustrations in text. Modern morocco-backed boards.
FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST ATLAS OF THE PLANET VENUS. Bianchini used a single-lens long-focus refracting telescope for his observations, designed by the Roman lensmaker Giuseppe Campani (depicted on two plates). He concluded that Venus rotates around its own axis at a constant inclination, in just over 24 days. The work is also an important example of 18th-century Italian book illustrations, and is illustrated with 3 mezzotints (2 in the text and the first plate). The two text illustrations in the second chapter depict the lunar crater Plato and the Alpine Valley. William Ashworth notes in his exhibition catalogue The Face of the Moon that "This small engraving, which appears in the text as part of the introductory chapter, shows the crater Plato at the right, with Aristotle and Eudoxus at left, and the mountain range of the Alps cut by the dramatic slash of the Alpine Valley. Bianchini noted with surprise that the valley did not appear on the great Cassini map, and he was right; Bianchini was the first to see and to portray this most impressive of lunar valleys" (p.11). Riccardi I,132.
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