101
101
Capra, Baldassare (1580-1626)
USUS ET FABRICA CIRCINI CUIUSDAM PROPORTIONIS, PER QUEM OMNIA FERE TUM EUCLIDIS, TUM MATHEMATICORUM OMNIUM PROBLEMATA FACILI NEGOTIO RESOLUUNTUR. PADUA: PIETRO PAOLO TOZZI, 1607
Estimate
30,00040,000
LOT SOLD. 50,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
101
Capra, Baldassare (1580-1626)
USUS ET FABRICA CIRCINI CUIUSDAM PROPORTIONIS, PER QUEM OMNIA FERE TUM EUCLIDIS, TUM MATHEMATICORUM OMNIUM PROBLEMATA FACILI NEGOTIO RESOLUUNTUR. PADUA: PIETRO PAOLO TOZZI, 1607
Estimate
30,00040,000
LOT SOLD. 50,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The Erwin Tomash Library on the History of Computing

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London

Capra, Baldassare (1580-1626)
USUS ET FABRICA CIRCINI CUIUSDAM PROPORTIONIS, PER QUEM OMNIA FERE TUM EUCLIDIS, TUM MATHEMATICORUM OMNIUM PROBLEMATA FACILI NEGOTIO RESOLUUNTUR. PADUA: PIETRO PAOLO TOZZI, 1607
4to (193 x 137mm.), engraving of a sector on title-page, woodcut initials, head- and tailpieces, woodcut diagrams, old limp vellum, modern cloth folding box, title-page repaired at foot affecting the edges of the engraving and the imprint, A2-3 repaired at foot slightly affecting text, last 2 leaves repaired at lower corner, binding slightly soiled and repaired, new pastedowns
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Provenance

Arnaud de Vitry d'Avaucourt (1926-2012), sale in these rooms, 3 November 1998, lot 62, £28,000, Erwin Tomash

Literature

Tomash & Williams C22; Riccardi i, 236; USTC 4034005

Catalogue Note

RARE FIRST EDITION of Capra’s Latin rendering of Galileo’s Le Operazioni del compasso geometrico et militare (Padua, 1606; lot 197), in which Capra accuses Galileo of having copied his instrument from a pre-existing model, and otherwise belittles him. Outraged, Galileo appealed to the University authorities, demanding the immediate seizure and destruction of Capra’s book (see lot 198). After investigation, the rectors agreed. Of the total edition of 483 copies, 453 were impounded (440 at the printer’s and 13 in Capra’s possession); the remainder had already been distributed. "This leak particularly worried Galileo, he claimed, and he printed his Difesa as a cleanup operation" (Nick Wilding, Galileo’s idol, Chicago & London, 2014, p.47).

Galileo's personal copy, in which he noted in the margins the plagiarised sections and errors that revealed Capra's lack of understanding of the instrument, is in the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (Bibl. Palatina, Ms Gal. 40/Tomo 11).

Institutional copies are held at Milan, Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense; Pisa, Biblioteca universitaria; Turin, Biblioteca nazionale universitaria; Rome, Museo Astronomico e Copernicano; Florence, BNCF (2 copies, including Galileo's own); Munich, Bavarian State Library; Leipzig, Biblioteca Albertina; Ljubljana, National and University Library. Of the five copies ICCU lists in Italian libraries, just one is a variant without the engraving on the title-page.

Sotheby's is grateful to Prof. Nick Wilding for the census of copies.

The Erwin Tomash Library on the History of Computing

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London