Perspectiva communis libri tres. Iam postremò correcti ac figuris illustrati.

Colonia Agrippinae [Cologne]: Apud Haeredes Arnoldi Birkmanni. 1580

4to, ff. 47, (1) blank. Oval woodcut Jesuit device on title, woodcut initial and headpiece, diagrams in the text. Old vellum (edges and spine repaired), new pastedowns and front free endpaper. Giovanni Battista Borelli’s copy, inscribed on the title “Ex lib. Borelli” and the price paid in the same(?) hand.

A late edition of this classic work on optics, which was the most influential text on the subject for three hundred years, and the work on which Pecham’s fame has chiefly rested. Written between 1277 and 1279, “the Perspectiva Communis was the most widely used of all optical texts from the early fourteenth until the close of the sixteenth century, and it remains today the best index of what was known to the scientific community in general on the subject” (DSB). “This is the second edition of Pascal DuHamel’s slight editing of, and commentary on, Georg Hartmann’s edition of Peckham’s optics textbook, with some additional woodcut figures in the text. This is essentially a reprinting of the edition of 1556, save that it does not include Hartmann’s preface of 1542. The periodic appearance of Peckham’s Perspectiva Communis demonstrates its continued use as a textbook on optics in the Renaissance up to the time of Kepler” (DiLaura). DiLaura, Bibliotheca Opticoria, 35.


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