London: J. Matthews. Small folio second edition, preferred and expanded, of Leybourn's important, detailed, and beautifully illustrated work on dialing. Leybourn's treatise (which is actually 14 treatises within one) is an extensive discussion of the fabrication of dials for a wide variety of different instruments.
At publication in 1700, this volume was considered the most important work on dialing of its time, as well as the most extensive treatise of its kind in English. The history of dialing is discussed at length, as are the most minute details of construction, calculation, demonstration, and use. In addition to instructions on how to construct dials, Leybourn includes two chapters on reflex dialing by John Twysden and William Halton alongside other extensive commentary on dialing by Kircher, Maignan, Wells, and Samuel Foster.
Additionally, Leybourn includes an extensive description and illustration of Francis Hall's elaborate and famous pyramid dial constructed at Whitehall. Hall's pyramidical dial "stood on a stone pedestal and consisted of six pieces, in the form of tables or hollow globes, placed one above another standing on iron supporters, and lessening in size as they neared the top." This pyramid is said to have contained no less than 271 different dials: some showing the hours according to the Jewish, Babylonian, Italian, and astronomical ways of counting; others making the shadow of the hour lines fall upon the stile as well as the usual reverse of this; and others displaying things pertaining to astronomy, geography, astrology, &c. The four elements of fire, air, water, and earth, were also represented; and there were portraits on glass of the king, the two queens (the mother and wife of Charles II.), the Duke of York and Prince Rupert" (Gatty, "The Book of Sun-Dials", 447).
Leybourn's description and illustration is considered an important account of the Hall dial's construction. References: Taylor, Mathematical practitioners of Tudor & Stuart England, 222. DNB, XI, pp. 1087-1088; Houzeau & Lancaster 11535; Lowndes, III, p. 1356; Wing L-1913; Zeitlinger, 2nd Supplement, 4132. Item #283
CONDITION & DETAILS: London: J. Matthews. Small Folio. 12 by 7.5 inches (300 x 188mm). , 156 pages, [191 pages], 3. Engraved frontispiece portrait of the author (by R. White and showing Leybourn in 1690 at the age of 64); numerous tables; many in-text engravings; 32 engraved copperplates (14 of which are folding). This edition includes 9 more plates than the far less extensive first edition. Handsomely bound in contemporary half calf over marbled paper boards. Five raised bands at the spine, each gilt-ruled. Red morocco, gilt-lettered spine label. Slight rubbing and scuffing at the edges and a ringed area on the front board. Exceptionally tightly and solidly bound. Complete. Two small closed tears; small chip at the upper right margin of one page; some minor and unobtrusive aging and foxing throughout. Very good condition.