LA CHAMBRE, [Martin Cureau de].

La Lumiere.

A Paris: Chez P. Rocolet,... 1657

4to, 1 leaf (engraved title-page), 10 leaves, pp. 64, 67–368, 379–414, 5 leaves. Full-page engraved dedication to Cardinal Mazarin, 2 large engraved illustrations and several smaller woodcuts in the text, woodcut head- and tailpieces and initials. Single tiny wormhole in margin of first 7 leaves, single wormhole in upper margin becoming a wormtrack in a dozen leaves, a few leaves with dampstain at top (mostly very faint). Contemporary speckled calf, spine finely gilt (but gilt rubbed away at ends, upper joint just cracking, score-marks on upper cover). Contemporary inscription of Joseph de Banneville on title, old inscription concerning Richelieu on front pastedown; bookplate of David L. DiLaura.

FIRST EDITION. La Chambre’s principal book on the nature and origins of light and colour, a subject to which he returned many times in other books. “La Lumière has its roots in La Chambre’s previous publication…of 1634. Most of La Chambre’s ideas—and unique vocabulary—regarding the nature of light and its interaction with objects are here considerably expanded to present an eclectic, scholastic treatment of light and color… Like much of La Chambre’s work, La Lumière is a fashionable, gracious, and elaborately written ‘discourse’ intended, perhaps, to startle and attract with novel theories, but lacking any substantiation let alone experimental support” (DiLaura). La Chambre was counsellor and physician to Louis XIV of France, a member of the Académie Française, and one of the founders of the Académie des Sciences. A close associate of Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin, La Chambre was the author of many books on physics and medicine. DiLaura, Bibliotheca Opticoria, 107. Albert, Norton & Hurtes 1285. Becker catalogue 223.


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