The handbill explains the reason for this benefit flight undertaken by Green in the Great Nassau Balloon in a long newspaper extract.more...
The balloonist had made an ascent from Vauxhall on August 20th but had crashed near Gravesend (’Mr. Green received several bruises, and had a narrow escape from a dreadful death’) and his balloon (The Abion) was torn to shreds. The wreckage was displayed at Cremorne Gardens as an attraction ‘for the inspection of the curious and scientific’.see full details
First edition of this extraordinary treatise on the status of eunuchs in society, according to civil and canon law.more...
Largely based on classical sources, history and (most interestingly) anecdotal evidence from the Orient, Ancillon considers the reasons for the phenomenon (including slavery, household, employment or punishment for sexual misdemeanour). The major contention is that while civil law permits a eunuch to marry, canon law should forbid it (as it did) on the grounds that a marriage could not be consummated. Along the way Ancillon recounts numerous anecdotes of famous eunuchs, notably Abelard, castrated at the instigation of Heloise’s family.
The book was later translated into English by Robert Samber as part of Edmund Curll’s Eunuchism display’d (1718).
This copy of Traité des Eunuques is one of at least two issues of the same year with slightly different paginations and title ornaments. The ‘Epitre dedicatoire’ is signed: ‘C. d’Ollincan’ an anagram of the author’s real name..see full details
This portrait is a naive interpretation of the classic image of Ramon Llull (c.more...
1232- c. 1315), Catalan mystic and mathematician. It is derived from the engraved portrait which first appeared in the seventeenth century Bibliotheca Chalcographia published by Jacques Boissard and Theodor de Bry in 1664..see full details
First published in 1751, The Tutor’s Assistant became one of the best-selling mathematical books for over a century.more...
‘An incomplete listing comprises 276 editions, the last in 1885... The York editions, starting in 1797, were corrected by Thomas Crosby of that city’ (Wallis in Oxford DNB).’ Crosby also published a popular Key to the book, which itself ran to many editions.
‘This book is by far the most used of all school-books, and deserves to stand high among them’ (De Morgan, Arithmetical Books, 1847, 80, cited by Wallis). .see full details
First edition in French of Tractatus de globis (1594), an important navigational work originally dedicated to Sir Walter Raleigh.more...
Hues had studied at Oxford where he became acquainted with Richard Hakluyt and later, Walter Raleigh and Thomas Harriot, before taking part in a voyage to Newfoundland. In five parts, the book describes the practical uses of the globes designed by Molyneux and, especially, how mariners could find the sun’s position, latitude, course and distance, amplitudes and azimuths, and time and declination. The fifth part describes the use of rhumb lines in navigation.
The translation is by Denis Henrion, the Paris mathematician remembered for his edition of the works of Viète and for the introduction of the calculating device known as the proportional compass to France. Henrion’s is a faithful translation with numerous interpolations of his own (indicated by italics). In these, Henrion adds several practical details to the methods of calculation but also takes the opportunity to advertise his Cosmographie, which was not to appear until two years later. At several points he affirms Hues’ text while stating ‘comme nous avons enseigné en nostre Cosmographie.’ The notes on the operation of the proportional compass promised by the title are confined to very sparse remarks on how a lengthy calculation, for example, could be achieved simply with the compass. They would appear to be an attempt to advertise another of Henrion’s works, Usage du compas de proportion (also 1618) and perhaps the instruments themselves..see full details
The limitation notice reads ‘This Edition is issued to Subscribers only and limited to two hundred and fifty copies, numbered and signed by the Author. The price will be doubled after first of March, 1931’. This copy is, however, unsigned and unnumbered. The work forms issue no. 5 of The Lugano Series.
‘From 1920 until 1937 Douglas was settled in Florence... As his fame grew, he became much visited by inter-war writers, and forged close friendships with D. H. Lawrence and Bryher. During these years he lived with the publisher Giuseppe (Pino) Orioli, who helped him publish several limited editions, most of which were later commercially published in London... In 1937 Douglas was forced to flee Florence after the police made enquiries concerning his friendship with a ten-year-old local girl’ (Katherine Mullin in Oxford DNB). .see full details
A rare little collection for animal-lovers, with over 60 anecdotes illustrating the characteristics of dogs (mainly) and cats, with titles such as ‘The faithful poodle’, ‘Siberian sledge-dogs’, ‘The surgeon and the dog’, ‘Strange punishment by a poodle’, ‘Remarkable rescue by a dog’, ‘The hunting dog’, ‘The life and times of a pomeranian’. For cat lovers, there are stories such as ‘The amusing education of a cat’ (from Campe’s Kinderbibliothek) and ‘The prisoner and the cat’..see full details
The Eagle was ‘an airship designed by the Comte de Lennox in 1834 to create a direct communication link between the capitals of Europe. The first aerial ship of its kind, it was exhibited in the grounds of the Aeronautical Society in Kensington, London. It measured 160 feet long, 50 feet high and 40 feet wide, with a capacity of 98,700 cubic feet. The ship was cylindrical with conical ends and had eight paddle-shaped flaps, four on either side, which were intended to be worked backwards and forwards manually by a series of cords and chains. However, the airship proved too heavy to lift its own weight and was destroyed by onlookers after a failed ascent from the Champ de Mars, Paris, on 17th August 1834’ (Science Museum, Science and Society Picture Library online). Though several prints and pamphlets accompanied the exhibition of the Eagle, we can find no other record of this handbill advertising admission to the ‘Dock Yard’ of the Society opposite Kensington Gardens..see full details
Second edition (first 1724) of Hoffmann’s “Complete Instruction for a safe, sensible and medically respected practice of medicine”: a very extensive baroque medical compendium.more...
Friedrich Hoffmann (1660-1742), a German physician, practiced and taught medicine, chemistry and physics in Halle from 1693. He studied and wrote on such varied topics as paediatrics, mineral waters and meteorology and introduced many new drugs into medical practice (such as a compound spirit of ether branded “Anodyne” and “Hoffmanns-Tropfen” still today known as a household remedy). Hoffmann was among the first to describe several diseases, including appendicitis and German measles, and to recognize the regulatory role of the nervous system.
The work contains examinations of common ailments such as fever, infections, haemorrhageing, cramps, spasms and convulsions, consideration of the cerebral and nervous system, lymph and glands, female complaints and childhood illnesses. It also includes numerous medicinal recipes and cures..see full details
Tiphaigne de la Roche’s L’Amour Dévoilé is a notable attempt to explain love and sexual attraction in mechanistic terms. The author considers the role of ‘la matière Sympathique’, which he believed to be a type of vapour exhaled by both animals and humans, and its action upon the senses of a member of the opposite sex. This rational approach to the subject makes overt reference to Leeuwenhoek who had explained the action of skin pores and appears to prefigure modern research into pheromones.
The author studied medicine at the University of Caen and practised as a physician. L’Amour Dévoilé is his first published work preceding several speculative and utopian novels, notably Giphantie (1760, the title an anagram of his name) in which he anticipated several modern developments including photography and synthetic food.
Pernetti, author of the moral romance Histoire de Favoride was a canon of the cathedral at Lyon and a prominent antiquary of that city. He was also a freemason and wrote a short treatise on that subject..see full details
The Subterranean Voyage of Nicolas Klim is one of the classics of speculative and utopian fiction, written fifteen years after Swift's Gulliver's Travels and often compared favourably with that work. It is the first fully developed novel to be set in the earth's interior, a setting which has been utilised countless times in later science fiction. Klim, a poor student, falls through a hole in the earth just outside the Norwegian town of Bergen and finds himself on the inside of the earth's crust. He lands on the planet Nazar (which orbits a sun at the centre of the earth's cavity) where he finds a nation that lives according to the laws of reason and nature. The peasantry are considered very highly and therefore are the most distinguished class in the state; many of the highest offices are held by women, who are in every way equal to the men. Nazar presents an enlightened utopia, very much in the mould of the ideals of Montesquieu and Voltaire (who Holberg admired enormously) but Klim also travels to other states where the perfect state of society is not so fully developed or is perhaps degenerate, allowing a vivid comparison of political, social and philosophical systems.Holberg (like his hero Klim) was a native of Bergen at a time when Norway and Denmark existed as a twin kingdom. He saw himself as a fully European writer and the equal of the French philosophes. The majority of his works, including the present, first appeared in Latin, the universal language. The adventures of Nicolas Klim were immediately popular and were rapidly translated into all the major European languages.
First edition of one of Carus’s pioneering works in the emerging science of psychology.more...
The author’s major contribution was in exploring the psychology of the unconscious and he is considered the precursor of Jung (who acknowleged his debt to Carus) in this field. The author was a prolific figure who wrote on many aspects of psychology, medicine and philosophy. He was an accomplished landscape artist in the Romantic tradition and had studied under Caspar David Friedrich. He was also a friend of Nietzsche, Humboldt and Goethe.
The Vorlesungen über Psychologie is especially notable for its wide frame of reference outside the discipline of medicine. Many of Carus’s examples are drawn from literature, with a special emphasis on the works of Shakespeare: in the course of his argument he refers variously to Hamlet, Macbeth, Henry IV, Romeo and Juliet and Othello..see full details
While Dionis’s consideration of the tape worm is fascinating enough (with its refutation of the theories of Nicolas Andry de Boisregard) the work is principally interesting for its larger part: Dionis’s edition of Sir Kenelm Digby’s account of the “Powder of Symapthy”, an alchemical preparation purported to cure wounds at a distance. Made from dried green vitriol, this was a variant of the well-known Paracelsian ‘weapon salve’ which cured wounds by being applied, not to the patient, but to the offending weapon. It is a measure of the endurance of belief in this cure that Dionis entered into a contemporary dispute concerning its use and provides a recipe for it. Pp. 65-266 here are occupied by Dionis’s introduction and by Digby’s text, first published in 1658..see full details
First edition in Latin (issued simultaneously in English) of this important work in the history of physiology.more...
‘In 1659 Charleton published a mechanistic account of physiology in Latin (Oeconomia animalis) and English (Natural History of Nutrition, Life, and Voluntary Motion), which included the suggestion that there was no increase in volume when a muscle contracted. Charleton was here rejecting the Cartesian account which attributed muscle shortening to its inflation by animal spirit. Charleton’s assessment was confirmed experimentally by Jonathan Goddard in 1669’ (Henry in Oxford DNB). .see full details
First edition in French, bearing an obviously false “Londres” imprint, of History of the Origin of Medicine (London, 1778).more...
Lettsom, the physician and Quaker philanthropist was a prolific author on medical subjects and his name is especially associated with the foundation of the Medical Society of London (as a Quaker, he was excluded from the Royal College of Physicians)..see full details
First edition in French of Baker’s Reflections upon Learning (1699), a work designed to display the inadequacies of human knowledge and reason and to emphasise the ultimate need for belief in revelation.more...
It proved controversial (provoking an angry response from geologist and physician John Woodward) and was widely reprinted. Bacon and Descartes are closely considered..see full details