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The history of the Royal Society of London, for the improving of natural knowledge
London: T. R. for J. Martyn and J. Allestry, 1667. Sprat, Thomas (1635-1713). The history of the Royal-Society of London, for the improving of natural knowledge. 4to. [16], 438, [2, including errata]pp. Engraved arms of the Royal Society on the verso of the license leaf, etched frontispiece by Wenceslas Hollar (1607-67) after John Evelyn (1620-76) or possibly Mary Evelyn, 2 engraved folding plates. 207 x 157 mm. London: T. R. for J. Martyn, and J. Allestry, 1667. Blind-tooled calf ca. 1667, light wear to hinges and edges, head of spine worn. Occasional minor soiling and staining, but a fine, completely unrestored copy. Signature of Martin Bowes (1670-1726) of Bury St. Edmonds, Suffolk on front pastedown, also brief shorthand note and shelfmark; some ink underlining in text. First Edition, second state of p. 85 without the repeated ?of? on lines 6?"7. A fine and completely unrestored copy of the first history of the Royal Society, published only five years after the Society received its Royal Charter. Sprat, a clergyman, was one of the original founders of the Royal Society; ?[his] exposition of the conception and beginning of the Royal Society remains the only one which tells us, in any detail, not only what the founders were doing, but even more important, what they thought they were doing? (Purver, The Royal Society: Concept and Creation, p. 9). Sprat divided his work into 3 parts, the first of which discussed the state of natural philosophy of the ?ancients? and compared that with the ?moderns.? The second part gave examples of the kind of scientific work that members of the Royal Society were doing. Influenced by Bacon, who appears in the frontispiece, Sprat focused on the utilitarian products of science, and nearly all the papers he chose for reproduction in the History deal with technological or commercial problems, and the virtuoso singled out by Sprat was Sir Christopher Wren?"inventor, architect and technologist. Sprat?s third part contains ?A Defense and Recommendation of Experimental Knowledge in General.? The work contains two contributions by Robert Hooke: ?A method for making a history of the weather? (pp. 173-182, with plate); and ?An account of a dog dissected? (p. 232). The pictorial frontispiece by John Evelyn (or possibly his wife, Mary), which is not found in most copies, depicts a bust of Charles II being crowned by Fame with a laurel wreath, flanked on either side by Francis Bacon and William, Viscount Brouncker, the Society?s first President. John Beale; see Michael Hunter, Science and Society in Restoration England, pp. 194-197. Keynes, Evelyn, 178; Hooke, 28. Norman 1989. Wing S-5032.
      [Bookseller: Jeremy Norman's Historyofscience.com]
Last Found On: 2016-01-31           Check availability:      Biblio    

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