203
203
[Galilei, Galileo (1564-1642)] Bernegger, Matthias (1582-1640)
ITALIAN SCRIBAL MANUSCRIPT COPY OF BERNEGGER'S LATIN NOTES ON GALILEO'S WORK ON THE PROPORTIONAL COMPASS
Estimate
2,0003,000
LOT SOLD. 13,750 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
203
[Galilei, Galileo (1564-1642)] Bernegger, Matthias (1582-1640)
ITALIAN SCRIBAL MANUSCRIPT COPY OF BERNEGGER'S LATIN NOTES ON GALILEO'S WORK ON THE PROPORTIONAL COMPASS
Estimate
2,0003,000
LOT SOLD. 13,750 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The Erwin Tomash Library on the History of Computing

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London

[Galilei, Galileo (1564-1642)] Bernegger, Matthias (1582-1640)
ITALIAN SCRIBAL MANUSCRIPT COPY OF BERNEGGER'S LATIN NOTES ON GALILEO'S WORK ON THE PROPORTIONAL COMPASS
entitled "In Tractatum de proportionum instrumento ab Ex.mo Gallileo emanato Notationes Mathie Berneggeri", with some later manuscript corrections. [Italy], 28 October 1640

4to (272 x 206mm.), 51 leaves, diagrams and tables in text, anchor watermark, later additional manuscript title ("Matthie Berneggeri Notationes in Tractatum de instrumento proportionem") on flyleaf, later vellum boards (new front free endpapers added at the same time, containing the later manuscript title-page), modern half morocco case, a few small marginal stains


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Provenance

Biblioteca Albani, Rome, inkstamp on first page (star and trimount, above initials "RA"), and Albani shelf/inventory number "580" on spine; Baldassarre Boncompagni (1821-1894), his printed shelf/inventory number "484" on spine (slightly chipped); sale of the Boncompagni library by Saturnino Innocenti, Rome, 27 January-12 February 1898, lot 437, with auctioneer’s label "437" on spine; Robert B. Honeyman (1997-1987), bookplate; Sotheby's, Honeyman sale, 2 May 1979, lot 1182; Zeitlin & Ver Brugge (Los Angeles), Catalogue 253 (1981), item 80 ($1750); bought by Erwin Tomash, 1987

This is probably one of the 85 manuscripts acquired by Prince Boncompagni directly from the Albani family, in 1857/1858, though it is not entered in Enrico Narducci’s first catalogue of the Boncompagni manuscripts (1862), only in the collector’s posthumous catalogue (1892). The owners of the manuscript between its sale in 1898 and acquisition by Robert Honeyman are as yet unknown; a virtual reconstruction of the Boncompagni Library recovering provenance details is in progress (Ron B. Thomson and Menso Folkerts, Boncompagni Manuscripts: Present Shelfmarks, Beta Version 1.8, May 2013).

Literature

Tomash & Williams G17; Enrico Narducci, Catalogo dei manoscritti ora posseduti da D. Baldassare Boncompagni (Rome, 1892), no. 484; Antonio Favaro, Per la edizione nazionale delle opere di Galileo Galilei... Materiali per un indice dei manoscritti e documenti galileiani non posseduti dalla Biblioteca nazionale di Firenze (Venice, 1894), p. 61 no. 882; Kristeller, Iter italicum (London, 1990), V, p. 389 no. 81 (San Juan Capistrano, Mr and Mrs R.B. Honeyman)

Catalogue Note

Galileo's first published work (dated 1606, see lot 197) was a printing of the instructional notes in Italian he had made concerning the proportional compass, an invention of his dating back to the 1590s. A translation of these notes into the scientific lingua franca of Latin, together with extensive additional notes, by the Strassburg mathematician Matthias Bernegger, was published in 1612 (as Tractatus de proportionum instrumento), with a second edition appearing in 1635. The present manuscript, which transmits only Bernegger's additional notes, is presumably taken from either the 1612 or the 1635 edition, both of which are mentioned on the title-page. By virtue of its connection with the work of the proscribed writer Galileo, and the fact that it was prepared in Italy, it has something of the nature of a samizdat production, although both Galileo and the Protestant Bernegger are clearly named on the title of the manuscript.

There are traces of old manuscript foliation on the leaves, but not in order, indicating that the quires may have been in a blank (foliated) book which was then taken apart and the quires reused for this manuscript (also visible in the stain on the fore-edge which occurred before this reassembly).

The Erwin Tomash Library on the History of Computing

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London