HOOKE, Robert (1635-1703). Micrographia: or some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies made by Magnifying Glasses. London: John Martyn and James Allestry for the Royal Society, 1665.
2° (287 x 185mm). Title in red and black with engraved arms of the Royal Society. 38 engraved plates, by and after the author and possibly also Christopher Wren, 28 folding. Woodcut headpieces and initials. (Occasional light spotting or marking, light dampstaining to upper margins, occasionally affecting images, some folding plates creased, 8 plates trimmed with minor loss, 14 with small tears.) Contemporary English blind-ruled calf, red edges (rebacked, one corner repaired, other corners and edges worn). Provenance: occasional pencil markings.
FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE OF HOOKE'S MOST CELEBRATED WORK, with the title printed in red and black and dated 1665. The 28-page preface gives a description of the newly-perfected compound microscope, and 'contains many reflections on human faculties and the importance of scientific discoveries in general' (Keynes). Although the main emphasis is on plants and insects, the written 'observations' that follow range from 'the point of a needle' and 'edge of a razor' (nos. 1-2) to 'the fixt stars' and 'the moon' (nos. 59-60), and include almost everything except a unifying theory. Newton read the book diligently in his mid-twenties; his notes on it survive at Cambridge, and there is no doubt that Hooke's examination of the phenomena of colours in thin, transparent films led him directly to the experiments which became the foundation for Book Two of the Opticks. In his last observation, Hooke conjectured that the moon might have a gravitating principle like the earth's; his book also marks the first scientific use of the word 'cell'. Although Keynes states that the plates are 'mostly folding', many of the folds are only short flaps, and the number of folding plates varies from copy to copy, depending on the whim of the binder; in this copy some plates have been trimmed across the platemark, but it has only caused loss to plate 8. As in the copy described by Horblit Science, plates 2 and 13 are titled in manuscript ('Schem. 2' and 'Schem. 13'), and plate XVI is bound after XXI. Dibner 187; ESTC s.v.; Garrison-Morton 262; Heirs of Hippocrates 599; Horblit Science 50; Keynes Dr. Robert Hooke 6; Norman 1092; PMM 147.