NEWTON (ISAAC) Opticks: or, a Treatise of the Reflexions, Refractions, Inflexions and Colours of Light. Also Two Treatises of the Species and Magnitude of Curvilinear Figures, FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE

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Lot 109
NEWTON (ISAAC)
Opticks: or, a Treatise of the Reflexions, Refractions, Inflexions and Colours of Light. Also Two Treatises of the Species and Magnitude of Curvilinear Figures, FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE

Sold for £ 16,800 (US$ 22,972) inc. premium
NEWTON (ISAAC)
Opticks: or, a Treatise of the Reflexions, Refractions, Inflexions and Colours of Light. Also Two Treatises of the Species and Magnitude of Curvilinear Figures, FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE, title printed in red and black, 19 folding engraved plates, second book with page 120 misnumbered 112, occasional soiling, one or two plates slightly frayed at fore-edge, curious early ink annotations in the margins including the addition of letters corresponding to the figures in the first 4 plates, some underlining, and some words on a few leaves (e.g. pages 94-99) crossed through with very neat hatching, dark blue crushed morocco by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, [Babson 132; PMM 164], 4to (236 x 186mm.), Samuel Smith and Benjamin Walford, Printers to the Royal Society, 1704

Footnotes

  • "Newton's Optics did for light what his Principia had done for gravitation, namely, placed it on a scientific basis" (Babson, quoting Prof. E.W. Brown of Yale University). Although Newton began writing the work in the 1670s, he delayed publishing it (the first issue was anonymous) until after Hooke's death, to avoid repeating previous controversies he had faced. In addition to expounding Newton's theory of the colours of light, the work was also notable for containing the author's first mathematical papers in print, and for giving the first full explanation of the rainbow.
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