Alexis Claude Clairaut. Theorie de la Figure de la Terre, Tirée des Principes de l'Hydrostatique. Paris: Chez David Fils, 1743.

    First edition. Octavo. With engraved title vignette and numerous intertextual woodcut diagrams.

    Contemporary mottled calf, gilt triple-fillet border, spine tooled in gilt in compartments, gilt morocco lettering piece, five raised bands, gilt board edges, marbled endpapers, edges dyed red. Ink ownership inscription of the Royal Society of Sciences, Berlin, on title page. Upper joint and corners expertly repaired. Overall, a very good copy.

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    A handsome copy of Clairaut's most famous work. A member of the French expedition to Lapland (led by P.-L. Moreau de Maupertius) to measure the length of a degree of latitude near the North Pole, the book is "to some degree the theoretical epilogue to the Lapland expedition and to the series of polemics on the earth's shape - an oblate ellipsoid, according to Newton and Huygens, and a prolate ellipsoid, according to Cassini" (DSB).


    Graesse II:190.

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