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La Perspective, Avec la Raison des Ombres et Miroirs
Finely engraved title & numerous fine engravings in the text (many full-page, one double-page). 5 p.l., 49 leaves, [16] leaves. Large folio, cont. vellum over boards (some dampstaining, mostly marginal, to about nine leaves, some light browning). London: Jan Norton, 1612 [with added engraved imprint beneath sill of the compartment: "Francfort ches la vefue de Hulsius"]. First edition, second issue (see below), of this rare perspective manual by the architect and engineer Salomon de Caus (d. 1626), a prominent theorist of perspective, who was renowned as an inventor of mechanical contrivances, utilitarian and entertaining. The book is of great interest for its material on the phenomenon of anamorphosis, a distorted projection or drawing of anything, which, when viewed from a particular point, or by reflection from a suitable mirror, appears regular and properly proportioned. The work presents a large number of perspective problems, including intricate projections and optical illusions, drawings of shadows in perspective, and the mirroring of objects. "In the sum total of his work, this book takes its place as one chapter of a vast treatise on the wonders of the world, in which the harmony of sounds and shapes, the mechanics of vision and of hydraulic machines are presented on the same level. Although the author writes in the sober style of a technician, he is deeply aware of the poetry of his subjects."-Baltrušaitis, Anamorphic Art, p. 37. Caus was born in the Dieppe region, but moved a great deal in Flemish and German circles in which anamorphoses seem to have been particularly in vogue. He was in the service of the Archduke Albert II of Austria (1605-10), then in England where he worked in the Richmond Gardens and for Henry, Prince of Wales, and finally with Frederick V, Elector of the Palatinate and King of Bohemia (1619). He spent the final years of his life in France. A cosmopolitan and intellectual with wide-ranging interests, he wrote on music, automata, on solar clocks and on Euclidean proportions. This book appears to be the second book published in England to make use of folding or pop-up flaps in diagrams (the first being John Dee's Euclid of 1570). Our book is an interesting example of shared printing: Richard Field printed the preliminaries, the letterpress of Chap. 10 of "Ombres" and all of "Miroirs" while Mommart in Brussels printed the rest. The first issue is dated 1611; our issue is dated a year later with a slightly altered imprint (see NSTC 4868.7 & 4869 for details). A fine copy preserved in a black morocco-backed box. Several of the engravings have been slightly shaved at outer or lower margins. ? Kemp, The Science of Art, pp. 112, 118, & 183.
      [Bookseller: Jonathan A. Hill, Bookseller, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2016-11-26           Check availability:      Biblio    


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