197
197
Galilei, Galileo (1564-1642)
LE OPERAZIONI DEL COMPASSO GEOMETRICO, ET MILITARE. PADUA: IN THE HOUSE OF THE AUTHOR, BY PIETRO MARINELLI, 1606
Estimate
60,00080,000
LOT SOLD. 162,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
197
Galilei, Galileo (1564-1642)
LE OPERAZIONI DEL COMPASSO GEOMETRICO, ET MILITARE. PADUA: IN THE HOUSE OF THE AUTHOR, BY PIETRO MARINELLI, 1606
Estimate
60,00080,000
LOT SOLD. 162,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The Erwin Tomash Library on the History of Computing

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London

Galilei, Galileo (1564-1642)
LE OPERAZIONI DEL COMPASSO GEOMETRICO, ET MILITARE. PADUA: IN THE HOUSE OF THE AUTHOR, BY PIETRO MARINELLI, 1606
folio (285 x 193mm.), woodcut device of Marinelli on title-page, woodcut initials and diagrams, watermark of an open (i.e. unenclosed) Crossbow (in the middle of the sheet of N1, O2, P2, Q1, etc.), with cornermark of Three Mounts (outer margin of title, A2, B2, C1, etc; lower margin of D1, E1, F1, etc.), A2v with the letters "Oper.3." stamped by the printer later by hand, modern blind-tooled leather, modern folding buckram box, title-page with blank section to the right of the device replaced (possibly using paper from last leaf), lower blank corner of last leaf made-up with new paper, a few small paper repairs at outer margin of last few leaves
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Provenance

Bought from Richard Arkway, New York, 1985

Literature

Tomash & Williams G11; Carli & Favaro 23; Cinti 16; USTC 4033777

Catalogue Note

FIRST EDITION OF GALILEO'S FIRST PUBLISHED WORK. This is the second issue, with the date 10 July 1606 at the end of Galileo's dedication to Cosimo II de' Medici.

Galileo had begun manufacturing his compasso in the 1590s and for ten or more years he sold the instrument together with a manuscript manual of instructions for its use prepared by his amanuensis. By 1606, the instrument had undergone several modifications, and the applications described in the manuscript instructions expanded from 12 to 32. The transition to print was guided both by reasons of economy and Galileo’s decision to assert his rights as inventor of the instrument. Although he was not much interested in the instrument, Cosimo accepted the book’s dedication.

Galileo claimed that only 60 copies were printed, stating in his preface to the reader “Et per tal causa ne hò fatte stampare appresso di me 60. copie sole, per presentarne insieme con lo Strumento con la somma diligenza”. Galileo’s letters prove that he did in fact present or sell his instrument accompanied by a copy of the Compasso. An uncertain number of copies were printed by Marinelli on a superior paper, marked “with a seven-spoked wheel, its inner hub made of two concentric circles” (Paul Needham, Galileo makes a book: the first edition of the Sidereus Nuncius Venice 1610, Berlin 2012, pp.30-31, citing the British Library copy as an example of the special-paper issue). The survival of some 25 copies suggests that the print run exceeded 60 copies. Nevertheless, the edition must have been soon exhausted, since in 1610 Galileo advised a correspondent that it was out of print (“non se ne trovando più copie”).

Sixteen institutional copies of the Compasso are known (Library of Congress, Washington D.C.; University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana; University of Oklahoma; Beinecke Library, Yale; Huntington Library; Berlin State Library; British Library; Edinburgh University Library; Jagiellonian Library, Krakow; National Library, Florence; Austrian National Library; Museo Galileo, Florence; Marciana Library, Venice; Vatican Library; National and University Library, Ljubljana; Science Museum Library, Wroughton); in addition there are three or possibly four genuine privately owned copies.

Sotheby’s is grateful to Prof. Nick Wilding for confirming the authenticity of the present copy by direct examination in February 2018 and for the census of copies.

The Erwin Tomash Library on the History of Computing

|
London