Joslin Hall Rare Books

Curious, Unusual, Interesting & Occasionally Useful Books of the 16th-20th Centuries exploring the skills, trades, lives and ways of other times...

 Tuesday, December 12, 2017

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Mairan, Jean Jacques d'Ortous de.
Traite Physique et Historique de l'Aurore Bore'ale.

Paris l'Imprimerie Royale: 1733.

The first edition of a classic and beautiful work on the Aurora Borealis.Mairan (1678-1771) believed the phenomena to be attributable to "zodiacal light" and an extension of the Sun's atmosphere into our own. The plates, which were engraved by Philippe Simonneau, illustrate declinations as well as a number of views of the lights, with views of the lights at Giessen on the 17th of February, 1721, and Brevillepont on the 26th of September, 1726, the 19th of October, 1726 and the 6th of September, 1731. The problem of illustrating light with the engraver's tool is a daunting one, but Simonneau has created a series of evocative, vivid impressions. Mairan was an interesting man, a member of the Academie Royale des Sciences, and a fellow of the Royal Society in London, with a wide circle of correspondence. He wrote a popular treatise on the formation of ice, and became interested in ancient China and Egypt, theorizing that the ancient Egyptians had established a colony in China. This book, the first major study of the Aurora, was reissued in 1754 with two additional plates.

Hardcover. 8"x10", [8] 281, [i] pages, 15 engraved folding plates bound in full period polished calf with gilt spine decorations, marbled endpapers. With a handsome engraved armorial bookplate (unidentified) and a small, modern label. Some separation along the front hinge, but the cords are tight.

Inventory #: 2628
Price: $ 1500.00      

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