Nouvelles Récréations Physiques et Mathematiques, contenant, Toutes celles qui ont été découvertes & imaginées dans ces derniers temps, sur l'Aiman, les Nombres, l'Optique, la Chymie, &c., & quantité d'autres qui n'ont jamais été rendue publiques.
by GUYOT, Edmé Gilles.
68 finely handcolored folding plates, 9 black & white plates (six are folding), & four price-lists (one at the end of each vol.), all engraved. 2 p.l., iv, xxiii, , 243,  pp.; 2 p.l., x, , 322 pp.; xvi, 240,  pp.; 2 p.l., xvi, 232,  pp. Four vols. 8vo, cont. mottled calf (headcap of Vol. I a little worn, some worming in Vol. II touching text & plates), flat spines gilt, contrasting leather lettering pieces on spines. Paris: Gueffier, 1769-69-70-70. First edition of this handsomely illustrated work which contains 77 engraved plates, of which 68 are finely handcolored, depicting electrical experiments, chemical and optical apparatus, scientific games, etc. This book is one of the most extensive and certainly the most beautifully illustrated of a genre of popularized scientific texts which were rather common in the late 18th century. Experimental science was a fashionable pursuit among the leisured classes in the second half of 18th century in Europe and Guyot was one of several illustrious lecturer who satisfied the intellectual appetites and curiosities of an ever-increasing number of amateurs of science. This publication was written for the enlightened layman rather than the professional researcher. The first volume is devoted to magnetic and electrical experiments and games; the second to instruments involving numbers and games entailing magical feats of memory. The third volume deals with optical apparatus including a camera obscura (see Gernsheim, History of Photography, p. 28 & note 49 regarding the instrument described and illustrated in the present work) and optical illusions. The final volume contains numerous chemical experiments. Each volume has an engraved leaf at the end with a price list of the instruments described in the text and which were available through Guyot in Paris. Guyot (1706-86), was the postmaster general of Paris and the author of several other scientific works. Apart from the worming in the second volume, a fine set. ❧ Wheeler Gift Cat. 426. . (Inventory #: HillBibl-5418)
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