A Fine Copy of the Rare First Edition in English of the Seminal Work on Ballistics

THREE BOOKES OF COLLOQUIES CONCERNING THE ARTE OF SHOOTING IN GREAT AND SMALL PEECES OF ARTILLERIE. [with] THE LUCAR APPENDIX.

(London: [Thomas Dawson] for John Harrison, 1588). 283 x 190 mm. (11 1/8 x 7 1/2"). 4 p.l., 80, [4], 120 pp., [1] leaf (errata on verso). Collates as the British Library copy, with G3 and G4 uncancelled, with G3r line 5 from bottom ending "sayde"; G5 replaced with cancel bifolium with woodcut of mortar shooting on title page but without errata on verso of second leaf. COMPLETE.Translated into English and compiled by Cyprian Lucar. First Edition in English.

19th century red half morocco over red buckram, raised bands, gilt titling, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. ILLUSTRATED THROUGHOUT: woodcut device of a cannon on title page, two large woodcuts of dedicatee Robert Dudley's coat of arms, two woodcuts of Lucar's coat of arms, historiated woodcut initials, 72 woodcut illustrations of martial implements or vignettes within text, three folding tables (including a "frutefulle table" for determining squares, square roots, and cubes of various numbers, not called for and shorter than the rest of the text), and four folding woodcut plates. Front pastedown with armorial bookplate of Thomas Francis Fremantle. Cockle 38; Luborsky & Ingram 23689; Riling 38; STC 23689; ESTC S101739; USTC 511050. Leaves lightly pressed (but not washed), expert repair to title page gutter, very minor worming to lower fore-edge corner on first four quires, other trivial imperfections, but A VERY ATTRACTIVE COPY--clean and fresh internally, the folding plates in outstanding condition, and the binding unworn.

This is an especially pleasing copy of the infrequently-seen first edition in English of an influential military treatise that introduced Elizabethan England to important Italian developments in projectile theory. Dedicated to the earl of Leicester, the queen's favorite courtier, Cyprian Lucar's translation here has rendered into English the first three books of Tartaglia's "Quesiti et Inventioni Diverse" (1546), which was an enlargement of his 1537 "Nova Scientia," the first book on ballistics to be printed, and the seminal work on the subject. It carried the Medieval theory of "impetus" a step beyond the work of Albert of Saxony and Jean Buridan, thus beginning the scientific treatment of the theory and practice of gunnery. Although the quest for a mathematical theory defining the flight of projectiles was left for Galileo to work out, Tartaglia (1500?-59) in the "Nova Scientia" proposed the use of two instruments for determining inaccessible heights and distances as a result of his study of certain problems with gunnery. Riccardi considers these appliances the first telemeters and says that their related theories are the first attempts at modern tachymetry. Along with some autobiographical information, our volume also contains accounts of gunnery, the composition of gunpowder, and fortification. The translator, Cyprian Lucar (1544-1611?), added his substantial "Lucar Appendix," which culls information on artillery and fireworks from 25 authors writing in English, Latin, and Italian. These two treatises were intended for practical reference, and many copies were no doubt destroyed by use in unprotected environments. OCLC, USTC, and ESTC find copies in eight U.S. Libraries, and just three other copies are recorded at auction by ABPC and RBH since 1981 (the last of these selling in 2016 for $13,750). One could hardly hope for a better copy than the present one.
(ST15854)

Keywords: Woodcuts

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PJP Catalog: 76.173

THREE BOOKES OF COLLOQUIES CONCERNING THE ARTE OF SHOOTING IN GREAT AND SMALL PEECES OF ARTILLERIE. [with] THE LUCAR APPENDIX. NICCOLÒ TARTAGLIA.
THREE BOOKES OF COLLOQUIES CONCERNING THE ARTE OF SHOOTING IN GREAT AND SMALL PEECES OF ARTILLERIE. [with] THE LUCAR APPENDIX.
THREE BOOKES OF COLLOQUIES CONCERNING THE ARTE OF SHOOTING IN GREAT AND SMALL PEECES OF ARTILLERIE. [with] THE LUCAR APPENDIX.
THREE BOOKES OF COLLOQUIES CONCERNING THE ARTE OF SHOOTING IN GREAT AND SMALL PEECES OF ARTILLERIE. [with] THE LUCAR APPENDIX.
THREE BOOKES OF COLLOQUIES CONCERNING THE ARTE OF SHOOTING IN GREAT AND SMALL PEECES OF ARTILLERIE. [with] THE LUCAR APPENDIX.