Important Early Mathematics in an Elegant "Spes" Binding


(Paris: Robert Estienne, 1538; Freiburg im Breisgau: Joannes Faber, 1539). 210 x 145 mm. (8 1/4 x 5 3/4"). 259 pp.; 35, [1] leaves (final blank). Third Edition; Second Edition.

EXCELLENT CONTEMPORARY CALF "SPES" BINDING BY JACOB PANDELAERT OF LOUVAIN (his cipher on Spes panel), covers with blind-rule frames enclosing central panel stamp of Hope ("Spes") standing in a billowy gown on a pedestal labelled "Fides" (Faith), looking up at a cross and the words "Meritum Christi" in the clouds, an excerpt in Latin from Psalm 70: 1-2 ("In thee, O Lord, I have hoped, let me never be put to confusion: Deliver me in thy justice, and rescue me") in the space to the left of the figure, with the word "Charitas" (Charity) below it, the panel frame lettered with a Latin verse from Psalm 90 ("Because he has hoped in me, I will free him; I will protect him because he has known my name"); raised bands, rebacked preserving much of original backstrip, apparently old (perhaps 16th century) printed paper title labels on the spine, contemporaneous ink titling to fore edge. Each work with printer's device on title page, Tonstall with numerical tables, formulae, and diagrams in text; Glareanus with historiated woodcut initials, a number of woodcut diagrams (three of these full-page), and a double-page typographic table. Hans P. Kraus invoice to John Francis Casey of Pittsburgh, PA, dated 1937 laid in at front. Tonstall: Smith, "Rara Arithmetica," p. 136; Adams T-1123. Not in Schreiber. Glareanus: "European Americana" 539/13; Sabin 27548; Harrisse 228. For the binding: Fogelmark, "Flemish and Related Panel-Stamped Bindings," pp. 157-60; Goldschmidt 179. Corners a bit rubbed, a couple of light dampstains to leather covers, isolated trivial browning in the text, otherwise a fine specimen, extremely fresh and clean internally, the expertly restored binding completely sound, with lustrous leather, and the contours of the "Spes" panels still very sharp.

This attractive sammelband comprises an extremely desirable combination of early printings of two important 16th century mathematics texts and a notably elegant signed panel-stamp binding. The first work here is the third appearance and second Continental printing of a work that in its original 1522 London edition was the first book entirely on mathematics to be published in England (albeit in Latin). Its author, the English bishop, diplomat, intellectual, and scholar Cuthbert Tunstall (1474-1559), explains in the dedication (to Thomas More) that he was inspired by dealings with goldsmiths, whom he suspected of overcharging him, to renew his study of arithmetic and provide an instructional guide for others. Smith says, "The book includes many business applications of the day, such as partnership, profit and loss, and exchange. It also includes the rule of false, the rule of three, and numerous applications of these and other rules. It is, however, the work of a scholar and a classicist rather than a business man." The second work here is a treatise on mathematical geography, first printed in 1527, by Swiss humanist Heinrich Glarean (1488-1563), a true Renaissance man whose works included everything from maps (this work discusses the construction of globes) to commentary on classical texts to influential works on music theory. (While these works are on related subjects, they are separate publications, rather than companion works meant to be bound together.) The "Spes" panel stamp was introduced in the 1520s by a binder with the initials "I. P.," tentatively identified as Jacob Pandelaert, and was especially popular during the three decades beginning with the 1530s. There were two variants, one with the word "Charitas" (as here) and one without, available as a response to customer demand. Fogelmark and Verheyden attribute this variant to the religious divisions of the time. The allegorical design celebrates the miracle of man's salvation, through the "Meritum Christi" ["Merit of Christ"], with Spes, Fides, and Charitas (Hope, Faith, and Charity) being the three theological virtues associated with salvation.

Keywords: Mathematics