8 Jun 2018
Marine Lithographs by Explorer-Artist Lebreton
Today, World Oceans Day, let us all set sail with La Marine au XIXe siècle (Paris, Langlumé [c.1855]), a very rare suite of marine lithographs by Louis Lebreton (1818-1866), an artist from the charming port town of Douarnenez, in Brittany (as you may have guessed, judging from his surname!)

Praised for the accuracy of his representation of sailing life and boats, Lebreton mastered his trade as an artist on board the Astrolabe, the vessel commanded by the great navigator and explorer Dumont d'Urvil, his uncle.

Godspeed to you all, fellow booklovers, illustration lovers and ocean lovers!

posted by  Benjamin at  17:11 | permalink | comments [0]



1 Jun 2018
Honouring Sadi Carnot
On this day in 1796, the great French engineer and physicist Sadi Carnot was born, a man whose only published work – Réflexions sur la puissance motrice du feu et sur les machines propres à développer cette puissance (Paris, 1824) – marked the very foundation of modern thermodynamics.
To celebrate this birth, his father the famous statesman Lazare Carnot had a song published, written by himself and his musician friend Prieur-Duvernois, a member of the revolutionary Comité de Salut Public like Lazare himself in 1793-1794.

Here’s an extremely rare piece of occasion, in honour of an exceptional being!

posted by  Benjamin at  16:24 | permalink | comments [0]



18 May 2018
At the Museum with Visconti
In honour of International Museum Day, here is a superb copy of the Roman Iconography by Ennio Quirino Visconti (1751-1818), commissioned by Napoleon himself to the archaeologist and curator at the Louvre !
A sequel to the Greek Iconography published in 1808, this copy of the in-Folio Original Edition was printed on vellum paper by Didot and bound in half shagreen by Lajoux !


posted by  Benjamin at  14:27 | permalink | comments [0]



4 May 2018
Freedom for Jean-Baptiste Robinet !
On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, celebrated yesterday, we present to you a curious esoteric treatise: Vue Philosophique de la Gradation Naturelle des Formes de l'Etre, ou les Essais de la Nature qui apprend à faire l'Homme (A Amsterdam, chez E. van Harrevelt, 1768) by Breton naturalist Jean Baptiste Robinet (1735-1820), the Parisian edition of which had been put on the Index, subsequently republished in Amsterdam the same year in order to escape the censors !

Much like the writings of this precursor in the history of evolutionary thought, the illustrating engravings included in the book are on their own a testament to freedom !


posted by  Benjamin at  15:24 | permalink | comments [0]



27 Apr 2018
MENS SANA IN CORPORE SALTATUS
You and I know how important physical activity is to maintaining the vitality of the mind; because great results come with great effort, why not set the bar a little higher than the usual walk or yoga class ?

The work of the Italian acrobat Archangel Tuccaro [Trois Dialogues de l'Exercice de Sauter, et Voltiger en l'air. Avec les figures qui servent à la parfaicte demonstration et intelligence dudict Art. Dédié au Roy (A Paris, chez Claude de Monstr'œil, 1599)], a protégé of King Charles IX of France, we present to you the very first treatise on acrobatic gymnastics ! This exceptional work is illustrated with 87 woodcut figures representing gymnastic moves that you may even want to reproduce at home !

Come on ! (*)



(*) Librería Comellas denies responsibility for any injury suffered by book-lovers turned acrobatic gymnasts upon reading this blog entry.
posted by  Benjamin at  15:56 | permalink | comments [0]



20 Apr 2018
Homage to Philipe Pinel
Born on April 20th, 1745, this great pioneer modern psychiatry was one of the very first champions of the humane treatment of the alienated: he developed the idea of the "moral treatment" of the insane in the book Traité Médico-Philosophique sur l'aliénation mentale ou la manie (Paris, 1801) of which we present to you today an attractive 1rst edition copy, in contemporary half-binding!

posted by  Benjamin at  17:20 | permalink | comments [0]



12 Apr 2018
"Adversus Superstitiosas Artes"
May the occult powers forgive us for this title: it is not we who are opposed to the “arts of superstition”, it is Benito Pereira (1535-1610) !

Known for his works of theology and philosophy and for the courses he taught at the Jesuit Roman College, this immense scholar from Valencia published this treatise in 1591, in which he denounced the practices of magic, the interpretation of dreams, astrology and alchemy.

We originally planned to present the book to you tomorrow, but tomorrow is Friday the 13th, and you know what they say !...

posted by  Benjamin at  18:14 | permalink | comments [0]



23 Mar 2018
Tableau Synoptique de Prévision Météorologique (1888)
On the occasion of World Meteorological Day, let us present to you a really exceptional object ! To the best of our knowledge, this 1888 Weather Forecast Synoptic Table could well be the first "instrument" designed for making weather forecasts !

With the two shortest branches of the moving arrow, the user was to indicate the
atmospheric pressure, direction of the prevailing winds and general weather tendency, which resulted with the main branch indicating the weather to come ! Of course !

Designed in Clermont-Ferrand by J.R. Plumandon, Meteorologist at the Observatoire du Puy-de-Dome, and A, Colomês, member of the Société Météorologique de France, this extremely rare object was the "result of the experience acquired during twelve years of making the daily weather forecast at the Observatoire du Puy-de-Dôme".

Congratulations to these pioneers, and fair winds to you !

posted by  Benjamin at  17:07 | permalink | comments [0]





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