NEWTON, Isaac. ~ Optice: sive de reflexionibus, refractionibus, inflexionibus & coloribus lucis libri tres…. Latine reddidit Samuel Clarke, A. M. Reverendo admodum Patri ac D[omi]no Joanni Moore Episcopo Norvicensi a Sacris Domesticis. Accedunt tractatus duo ejusdem authoris de speciebus & magnitudine figurarum curvilinearum, Latine scripti. London: Sam. Smith & Benj. Walford, 1706.
4to (242 × 180 mm), pp. , 348, , 24, , 24, 21-43, , (Ss1 a cancel leaf as usual) plus 19 folding engraved plates. Errata corrected in manuscript on pp. 9, 15 and 270. Paper flaw to Dd1 affecting a word on each side. Light waterstain affecting lower right hand quadrant of most of the book. Eighteenth-century mottled calf, gilt arms of Joseph Bonnier de la Mosson to upper cover, his name on a scroll to the lower. Minor expert restoration to joints and corners. Slightly later inscription to gutter of title of Philippe Gueneau de Montbeillard. An excellent copy.
First Latin edition of Newton’s Opticks. Unlike Principia mathematica, Newton published this work first in English (1704), with the scholarly Latin translation by his assistant Samuel Clarke appearing in 1706 — the version in which Newton’s theories of light and colour were disseminated on the European Continent. This copy belonged to the French collector Joseph Bonnier de la Mosson (1702-44) and bears his gilt arms and name scroll on upper and lower covers.
Bonnier de la Mosson amassed one of the great cabinets of curiosities of the eighteenth century, installing it with at his hôtel particulier, the hôtel de Lude, at 58 rue Saint-Dominique. The collection comprised chemistry, physics and natural history as well as medals, pictures and books. The richly appointed display cabinets were celebrated in their day and the collection was immortalised in several detailed engravings and in paintings by Jacques de Lajoüe. At the collector’s untimely death at the age of 42 he was deeply in debt and the collection, including the library, was dispersed at auction in 1745. Parts of the collection were acquired by Buffon, who installed several of the original cabinets at the Jardin du roi (which later became Musée national d’histoire naturelle).
This book was lot 702 in De la Mosson’s sale (Catalogue des livres de M. Bonnier de La Mosson... dont la vente commencera lundi 26 avril 1745, Paris, Jacques Barrois, 1745). The catalogue listed two other Newtons: a French Opticks (Amsterdam, 1720, lot 703) and a Principia (lot 659).