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    The Rare First English Edition of Sir Isaac Newton's Landmark Principia

    Sir Isaac Newton. The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. Translated into English by Andrew Motte. To which are added The Laws of the Moon's Motion, according to Gravity. By John Machin. London: Benjamin Motte, 1729. First edition in English. Two octavo volumes. Approximately 7.75 x 4.5 inches. [xxxvi], 320, 71, [1, Errata]; [ii], [7, Appendix], 393, [13, index] pages. Engraved frontispiece after and by A. Motte in each volume, forty-seven folding engraved plates, two folding letterpress tables, three engraved headpieces by Motte, numerous woodcut head- and tail-pieces and historiated and ornamental woodcut initials, section-title to Machin's "Laws of the Moon's Motion". Contemporary full calf, spines rebacked to style in matching brown calf. Covers double-ruled in gilt, spines elaborately tooled in gilt in compartments, five raised bands, burgundy and olive gilt morocco lettering labels. Contemporary owner's name ("Thompson") in the upper margin of each title page. Minor worm damage (not affecting text) on pages 279-295 and 341-347 in Volume II (also affecting three plates in that volume, not affecting images), and creases in text due to printer's paper error in Volume I (at pages 111/112) and in Volume II (at pages 261-262). Some minor offsetting to endleaves, minor dampstaining to last four leaves of Volume I, only barely touching text on one leaf. An exceedingly attractive copy of this seminal work.

    This important work (the Principia on which it is based is generally thought to be the most important book in the history of science) was published two years after the author's death. Newton had seen three Latin editions through the press during his lifetime. The translator, Andrew Motte, was the brother of the publisher, and he provided the engravings for the frontispieces and three headpieces as well. The third book of the Mathematical Principles (in Volume II) is actually a translation (presumably also by Motte) of Newton's Treatise of the System of the World; the first Latin and English publications of this work appeared the previous year. Appended to Newton's texts is a demonstration of their use, "The Laws of the Moon's Motion, according to Gravity," by John Machin. Babson, Newton 20. Gray 23. Norman 2, 1587. Wallis 23. From the James and Deborah Boyd Collection.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2012
    11th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
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