First edition of Finé’s profusely illustrated work on sundials, 1560


Oronce FINÉ: DE SOLARIBUS HOROLOGIIS, & quadrantibus, libri quartor. With 1 woodcut title, 1 folded diagram and 57 woodcut diagrams and illustrations in the text. Paris: [1560].

Oronce FINÉ: DE SOLARIBUS HOROLOGIIS, & quadrantibus, libri quartor. Title bordered with illustrated woodcut and centered with editor's device, 1 folded diagram, 57 woodcut diagrams and illustrations in the text, where of several full-paged and one with editor's device repeated at E4v, as well as numerous illustrated woodcut initials and chapter lines. Paris: [B. Prevost for] Guillaume Cavellat [1560].

Small 4mo. a4 [woodcut title, dedication, preface], e4 [index], 223 [1 (2nd printer's device)] pages. Later mould paper wrappers on 4 faked raised band, mottled edges.

First print run (with no date printed on title) of the first separate edition (the 1st print was published as the concluding section of the author's »Protomathesis« in 1532) of this early, important and profusely illustrated account on sundials, clepsydrae and other ancient time-keeping instrument including diptychs, rings, multi-faceted and pillar dials, quadrants, mariner's astrolobes, as well as the mathematical or astronomical principles governing their use and design.

The woodcuts by „G. Bordei“ (as mentioned in the preface) are elaborate adaptions of or newly cut versions taken from the blocks of those depicted in the »Protomathesis«. Oronce Finé (1494-1555), a famous French scholar and chair of mathematics at the Collège Royal since 1531, had also constructed an ivory sundial in the form of a ship, nowadays housed by the Milan Museo Poldi Pezzoli. Several woodcuts of the book refer to this construction.

Present copy was separated of a Sammelband and is protected with mould paper wrappers. Top edge of block with tighter cut, no text loss however, p. 202 with tight cut front edge, some pages foxy and stained, spine in parts loose, otherwise well preserved copy indeed.

Particularly hard to find with the big (37,5:29 cm) folded diagram usually bound in at the end of the volume.

Adams F 473 (copy without folded diagram); Fairfax-Murray 165; Harvard 232; Houzeau-L. 11351; Mortimer I, 232; Poggendorf I, 747ff. Description thanks to Heritage Book Shop, USA.

Additional information

Weight 1 kg