LAVOISIER, Antoine-Laurent (1743-1794). Trait lmentaire de chimie, prsent dans un ordre nouveau et d'aprs les dcouvertes modernes. Paris: Chardon for Cuchet, 1789.
2 volumes, 8o (213 x 135 mm). Half-titles, 2-page errata at end, 2 letterpress folding tables in vol. I, 13 finely engraved folding plates by and after the author's wife, Marie Anne Pierrette Paulze Lavoisier, woodcut head- and tailpieces by Papillon. (Small tear to Ss1 [vol. II], 2 or 3 marginal tears, marginal staining to the folding plates, occasional marginal soiling, some light foxing.) Original pastepaper wrappers, uncut, traces of ink lettering on spines (both volumes loose in stitching, vol. II broken, backstrips torn, vol. II backstrip defective); folding morocco-backed chemise and slipcase by Ren Aussourd.
Provenance: MICHEL ADANSON (1727-1806), botanist (presentation copy from the author according to inscriptions by Adanson on both titles, both signed and dated 1789, his annotations throughout, later typographic book labels, "Des archives de Michel Adanson"); Denis I. Duveen (b. 1910) (bookplate inside chemise).
PRESENTATION COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION, second issue, COPIOUSLY ANNOTATED THROUGHOUT BY THE BOTANIST MICHEL ADANSON AT THE AUTHOR'S REQUEST. The "culmination of Lavoisier's achievement" (DSB), the Trait de chimie swept away the last remnants of alchemy, did away with the phlogiston theory that had hindered the progress of chemistry in the 18th-century, and laid the foundation for modern chemistry. "Neither a general reference work nor a technical monograph, this small work was a succinct exposition of Lavoisier's discoveries (and those of his disciples) and an introduction to the new way of approaching chemistry" (DSB). In it Lavoisier set forth his major contributions to chemistry: He established the concept of the conservation of matter, by proving that compound bodies represent the combined weight of the simple substances of which they are composed. He summarized and refined the work begun in his Mthode de nomenclature chimique (1787), reforming chemical nomenclature, introducing the modern definition of elements and compounds, and reducing his earlier list of 55 elements to 33, which are still recognized today. Finally, he showed combustion and rusting to be the result of chemical combinations with oxygen, in the process overthrowing the phlogiston theory. His extensive use of the chemical balance furthermore established the necessity of accurate measurements for chemical researches.
The illustrations for this edition were conceived and executed by Lavoisier's wife, a skilled painter and engraver who had studied under Louis David, and who collaborated with her husband in his scientific experiments and researches. The second issue contains tables and several extracts from the registers of the Acadmie des Sciences and other learned societies, not included in the single-volume first or trial issue, of which only two copies are known.
THIS EXCEPTIONAL COPY WAS CAREFULLY STUDIED AND CLOSELY ANNOTATED BY THE BOTANIST MICHEL ADANSON, AT THE AUTHOR'S EXPRESS REQUEST. Adanson, a brilliant scientist and philosophe who "in many ways played a hidden role in the development of science" (DSB), was a close colleague of Lavoisier's at the Acadmie des Sciences. In his long inscription on the title-page of volume I (which includes a brief sketch of his own career), Adanson describes Lavoisier's request: "Donn par mon cher collgue Lavoisier qui me pria instament de le lire et de lui en rendre mon jugement surtout sur sa methode 1o de Division des substances, 2o de Nomenclature" [etc.]... je lui ai fait les remarques les plus essentielles que j'ai fixees sur cet exemplaire". His annotations, which are in places so dense as to render the printed text illegible, include corrections, remarks, tables, underlinings, and a neat drawing of a copper alambic on G1r. Lavoisier may have hoped to incorporate Adanson's suggestions in a later edition, but they remain unpublished.
Dibner Heralds of Science 43; Duveen and Klickstein 154; Grolier/Horblit 64; PMM 238; Wellcome III, p. 460; Norman 1295. (2)