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BRAHÉ, Tycho

Opera omnia

Francfort, Johannes Godofred Schoenwetter, 1648


2 parts in one volume 4to (230 x 185mm)

Printer's mark printed on the two title pages, headpieces and initials wood engraved, many diagrams, illustrations and pictures printed in the text. The two leaves with the dedication to the Bishop of Munich are bound at the end of the volume

COLLATION : (I) : A-Z42A-Z43A-04 (last blank) ; (II) : a-z42a-d43e) : (2

ILLUSTRATION : 9 wood engravings printed on full page, representing constellations and the scientific instruments of the author (quadrant, sextant, armillary, sphere etc.)

CONTEMPORARY BINDING (SOUTH OF FRANCE). Red morocco, gilt decor, arms in the center of the sides, roulette border, spine with raised bands, speckled edges

PROVENANCE : François de Rignac (1580-1633), Attorney General of the Cour des Aides de Montpellier (cf. Olivier-Hermal-de Rotton, pl. 1902 and Guigard, Nouvel armorial du bibliophile, II, 413)

Paper browned as all the copies published at the end of the dramatic War of Thirty Years, small filled wormholes on the edge of the last 20 leaves of the volume, deleting a few letters (some touched up in ink)

This first edition of the works of Tycho Brahé contains his two most important texts, Progymnasmata (1602) and De mundi aetherrei (1603). The First part discusses the new star discovered in 1572 and the Seconde part the famous comet of 1577. These texts lay the foundations of astronomic systems that Kepler and Newton would develop. Tycho Brahé (1546-1601) owes his reputation to a remarkable talent for observation that allowed him to discover a nova star in the Cassiopeia constellation on November 11, 1572. In 1577, he observed a comet and showed that it could not move in the atmosphere of the earth. These observations drove him to compose his famous Introduction à la Nouvelle Astronomie. The substance of this book, taken up again and developed in several editions, thus constitutes volume I of these Opera omnia. It's title is De restitutione motuum solis et lunae stellarumque inerrantium tractat. Brahé studied the position of fixed stars, the precessions and the annual movement of the sun, on the base of the observation of the nova of 1572. In this text divided into ten chapters, the author talks with his predecessors and his contemporaries of whom several documents report conflicting opinions.

The binding of this superb copy is typical of the workshops of the South of France, especially that of Corberan, the binder of Peiresc. Though François de Rignac married a certain Jeanne de Fabry in 1627, she was not related to his namesake, Nicolas Fabri de Peiresc a native of Aix, even though this copy could imply family ties. In 1682, according to Léopold Delisle, Colbert received a gift of one hundred and four manuscripts of Mr. de Rignac, councilor to the Cour des Aides de Montpellier and heir to the books of François de Rignac. In their Histoire du Languedoc Vic and Vayssète relate that in 1677, Étienne Baluze had already discovered the library of the “late Mr. de Lignac”.

REFERENCES : Houzeau & Lancaster 2704 -- Norman 321 -- Waller 12004