A charming manuscript on general science, with sections on military architecture and fortification, weaponry, astronomy, mathematics, mensuration, horology, and calendar science; each section is illustrated with several dozen well-executed ink drawings highlighted in gouache and watercolor. Secondary mathematics is discussed in some depth, including trigonometric functions and logarithms (with an amusing note that the circle cannot be squared), with a longer section on practical applications. The sections on military science are probably the current, reflecting the state of projectile types, trajectories, and fortification theory as it was known in about 1720. The section on universal astronomy is the most impressively illustrated, with nearly full-page depictions of the armillary sphere and the Tychonic, Ptolemaic, and Copernican systems. The section on lunar phases is interesting for its separation of astronomic and astrologic components, in keeping with Enlightenment ideas about the earth and its satellite. A number of German scientists, architects, and astronomers are mentioned in the text, including Schott and Rheticus, though most are pre-1700 luminaries; few contemporary scientists are mentioned. The manuscript can be localized to southern or southwestern Germany by the watermarks in the two types of paper used, and Mainz is mentioned in the section on practical mathematics. A most attractive unpublished commonplace book, likely the final result of the pet project of an amateur scientist.
Quarto, 213 x 170 x 9 mm (binding), 211 x 168 x 6 mm (text block), gathered 1-74 (signed 1-7 in head fore-corners of the first leaf of each gathering), plus nine single sheets in three gatherings of three leaves, with corresponding stubs, 37 ff total, 74 blank, versos of last nine leaves also blank; sheets of first seven gatherings with watermark of the arms of Bavaria (related to Mbs 38, Munich-Thalkirchen, 1714-1733); final nine sheets watermarked with a horn in crowned shield, with subscript name HEISLER (Piccard 162497, Mannheim, 1735); text justification of first 27 ff 190 x 150 mm (or 190 x 150 mm when illustrations occupy outermost margins), text justification of last three leaves irregular and maximaized; without guidelines, guide-folds, or catchwords; text in Latin (with some passages in French, German, and Italian) in two tidy, legible hands in gall ink, the last three leaves in paler ink; 56 ink illustrations and diagrams colored in gouache, the last six nearly full-page, the rest marginal; all illustrations burnished. Contemporary Kamm-type marbled-paper-covered pasteboard, quarter vellum with vellum corners, unlettered, white pastedowns and single free ends front and back. Binding distressed: boards creased vertically, extremities rubbed with loss to marbled paper. In spite of condition, binding is sound and functional. Interior: occasional fingersoiling and scattered foxing, some-bleed-through of gouache and watercolor, otherwise crisp and fine.
Crossed-out custodial signature of Antonius de Neveu in pencil to head upper pastedown; repeated below this in ink, and dated 1794 (also crossed out); below this custodial signature of Josephus de Neveu in ink; an illegible name in ink in an early hand to tail fore-corner of front free end; modern catalogue number in pencil to lower pastedown. Acquired by W. S. Cotter from Quaritch in 2022.
Status: On Hold