FROM DEMONOLOGY TO LOGIC, ASTRONOMY TO ANATOMY: LE GRAND’S LAVISHLY ILLUSTRATED PHILOSOPHY OF DESCARTES, 1694 FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH WITH 100 FULL-PAGE ENGRAVINGS, HANDSOMELY BOUND
(DESCARTES) LE GRAND, Anthony. An Entire Body of Philosophy, According to the Principles of the Famous Renate Des Cartes, In Three Books… Illustrated with almost an Hundred Sculptures… London: Richard Blome, 1694. Folio (9 by 13-1/2 inches), period-style full paneled calf, raised bands, red morocco spine label. $7200.
First edition in English of Le Grand’s influential volumes of Cartesian philosophy, richly illustrated with 100 splendid full-page copper engravings by John Kip & Michael van der Gucht after G. Freman and others, including five plates showing benefactors’ coats of arms, handsomely bound.
A Franciscan friar, Le Grand "wrote on a number of philosophical topics… but became best known as the most prominent English Cartesian of his age… Le Grand was the first writer to present the doctrines of Descartes in scholastic format" (Pyle 2:508). Originally published in Latin in 1671-75, the three works gathered and translated here by Richard Blome include sections on logic, meteors, natural theology, weather, physics, demonology, animals, ethics, natural history, the soul and knowledge. Each section is beautifully illustrated with engravings, often allegorical; in an additional section entitled "An Explanation of the Sculptures in this Work," Le Grand describes and interprets the philosophical import of the book's magnificent engravings. Blome published Le Grand's work by subscription, and the patrons' names are listed separately at the base of each plate and collectively in a separate section. The plate count varies on the ESTC; some copies are described as having 101 plates, some appear with fewer than 100, but there is no comprehensive list of illustrations or directions to the binder. Text complete. Wing 950. Lowndes, 1333. Armorial bookplate of Montague Garrard Drake, of Shardelois, Bucks, mounted to verso of engraved frontispiece. Drake (1692-1728) was a British Tory politician who sat in the House of Commons 1713-28.
A fine, handsome copy of this rare, important and beautifully illustrated folio.