Inscribed Presentation Copy
The Author's Most Important Work
And the Subject of Discussion Between Kircher and Hevelius
The Best Copy in Decades
[KIRCHER, Athanasius]. HEVELIUS, Johannes. Selenographia sive lunae descriptio / Dissertatio de nativa saturni facie. Gedani (Gdansk): Autoris sumtibus, typis Hünefeldianis, 1647. [bound with]: Epistola de motu lunae libratorio, in ceras tabulas redacto. Ad & P. Johannem Bapt. Ricciolum. Gdansk: Andreas Julius Müller, printed for the author, 1654 [bound with]: Dissertatio de nativa saturni facie, eiusq(ue) variis phasibus, certa periodo redeuntibus. Cui addita est, tam eclipseos solaris anni 1656 observatio, quam diametri solis apparentis accurata dimensio. Gdansk: Simon Reiniger for the author, 1656 [bound with]: Epistola de utriusq(ue); luminaris defectu anni 1654. Ad Generosum & Magnificum Dominum Petrum Nucerium, Serenissimae Reginae Poloniae, & Sueciae Consiliarium & Secretarium &c. [bound with]: Eclipsis solis observata Gedani anno à nato Christo 1649. die 4. novembris, st. Greg. à Johanne Hevelio. [Gdansk],  [bound with]: Illustribus viris, Petro Gassendo, & Ismaeli Bullialdo, philosophis ac mathematicis nostri seculi summis, amicis suis officiosè honorandis, Johannes Hevelius S. [Gdansk]: .
First edition, an inscribed Presentation Copy of Hevelius' primary opus, here in an important sammelband bound with five other of Hevelius' books, each in first edition. Folio (341 x 225 mm). I: , , 563 pp., including half title (supplied, restored at guard), title (printed in red and black), additional engraved title-page with historiated border incorporating figures of Alhazen and Galileo, engraved portrait of Hevelius, 111 engraved illustrations on 91 plates (3 full-sheet; one with volvelle and original red silk string-pointer; 20 printed recto and verso for total of 40 engravings), 27 engraved illustrations and diagrams in text, one five-line historiated woodcut initial, numerous ornamental wood-cut two-line initials and head- and tailpieces, printed title with two library stamps' II: , 48 pp, title page with engraved allegorical vignette, 4 engraved plates (one full-sheet); III: , 40 pp., title with engraved vignette, 4 engraved plates; IV: , 49-72 pp., title page with engraved allegorical vignette, 2 engraved plates, one engraved text diagram, 2 seven-line ornamental woodcut initials, woodcut tailpieces; V: ff. , contents: p.  letter dated 5 January 1650; p. [2-3] Eclipsis solis observata. 1649 die 4 novembris, in tabular form; p. [4:blank]; VI: 2] pp. text of letter dated 10 July 1652, ff. , contents: p.  engraved plate, p. [4-5] tables of solar eclipse observed Gdansk 8 April 1652; p. [6-8] Animavertenda.
Near contemporary full vellum (rear cover stained and restored, endpapers renewed), upper board with gilt embossed monogram "M(agister) A(ndreas) M(arquard) / 1675", back cover with monogram "M. H. / 1701." Text and plates bright and virtually unfoxed, the final pages at the end of the volume (affecting the 'dissertatio' and particularly the last letter) somewhat stained with unobtrusive paper repairs to the lower outer corners of about twenty leaves. Lacking, as usual, 1 leaf of binder's instructions in the 'Dissertatio.' Withal, a magnificent copy and the most important to reach the marketplace in many years.
The Selenographia of Hevelius is no stranger to the auction rooms, yet few copies have been complete with all plates and volvelle in a seventeenth century binding, and not a single other copy bears a Presentation inscription and annotations of Hevelius as here, nor the superlative provenance: to the German astronomer, mathematician and theologian Andreas Marquard (or Marquardi), with his autograph inscription ("M. Andreas Marquardi Stralsun(densis) Pomeran(us) / Ex donatione autoris") on engraved title of the Selenographia and numerous annotations. Marquard was mathematical assistant of Hevelius during his stay in Danzig and author of some astronomical pamphlets of similar subjects that Hevelius also dealt with.
It is not unusual to find multiple books by Hevelius bound as one. It is quite unusual to find a sammelband of Hevelius' works with as strong a gravitational pull as this one.
During his stay in Avignon during the Swedish invasion of Wurzburg, Kircher "was visited by the German astronomer Johann Hevelius who, fifteen years later , was somewhat belatedly to thank Kircher for 'the kindness which you showed me in Avignon in 1632.'" (Fletcher, Astronomy in the Life and Correspondence of Athanasius Kircher. In Isis, Vol. 61, part 1, no. 206, p. 54). Hevelius's work had a great influence on Kircher's understanding of this particular science. Kircher had a great influence in promoting and assisting Hevelius's work.
"Hevelius initiated their 'commerce of letters' in 1647 with a letter in which he describes the pride and honor he feels in his contact with such a famous scholar: 'for your writings are most famed throughout the whole world.' He urges Kircher's erudition should no longer remain hidden - 'everything which until now has been concealed within your sharp mind should be brought forth for the public good' - and he humbly requests copies of all observations of planets, comets, and eclipses known to Kircher. In return, Kircher obediently reiterates his stupefaction at Hevelius' learning and expresses his pleasure at the proposed contents of the Selenographia, taking care to exclaim at some length over what was to him the most pleasing aspect of the treatise - the 'most exquisite engravings cut for all time in metal'...
"In his second letter, Kircher is able to inform Hevelius, 'I have seen your Selenographica, a work most worthy of your genius'...In his note of thanks [for the book] Kircher promises 'in controcambium' to give...Hevelius [a copy] of his Musurgia universalis..." (ibid., Fletcher, p. 65).
Further, wrote Kircher to Hevelius, 'I fully agree with what you have written on the nature and essence of heavenly bodies.' "Lest Hevelius should possibly misinterpret this handsome gesture of support, Kircher pointedly adds, 'as you are well able to see from Book I of my Ars magna Lucis et Umbrae' (1646)" (ibid., Fletcher, p. 66).
In addition, Fletcher, in his 1966 Masters thesis, published in 2011 as A Study of the Life and Works of Athanasius Kircher, 'Germanus Incredibilis', devotes pp. 262-263 to a discussion of the correspondence between Hevelius and Kircher with emphasis on this volume, noting that "Hevelius seems to have had a deep and genuine regard for Kircher."
Lalande, J.J. Le F. de. Bib. Astronomique, p. 223-224. BM, 103:256. Sotheran, Bibl. Chem.-Math. 1913. Item #02208
Out of stock