Andreae Vesali

Rare Books from the Ruth & Robert Horlick Collection


This exhibition features a selection of rare books ranging in date between the 16th to 19th centuries. They are part of a larger gift given to the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center by Ruth and Robert Horlick, a graduate of what was then the College of Liberal Arts at Boston University in 1949. The exhibition begins with Instructions on Measurement by German painter, printmaker, and mathematician Albrecht Durer; published in Paris in 1532. This copy is a first issue of the first Latin edition. It is followed by De Mundi Sphaera ("On the Heavenly Spheres"), a popular astronomy textbook of its day, complete with much-admired woodcut illustrations, written by Oronce Fine, a professor of mathematics, astronomy, and geometry at the University of Paris. Our copy of the book is a first edition, published in Paris in 1542. We then come to Paradossi per Pratticare la Prospettiva Senza Saperla by Italian scenic designer, Guilio Troili. Published in Bologna in 1683, the book serves as a practical guide to the problems of perspective, especially as it applies to creating spatial illusion in theatrical design. Moving from the 17th to the 18th century, we come to a two-volume set of The Georgicks and The Buccolicks of Virgil in an English translation by John Martyn, with hand-colored plates, published in London in 1749. Following chronologically, we find on exhibition the first volume of an extremely rare thirty-five volume set of the Encyclopedie by French philosopher and writer, Denis Diderot. This particular set, still in its original bindings, is the first large folio edition published in Paris in 1751. This is followed by a treatise on the properties of Hungarian poisonous plants, Ungarische Giftplanzen, by Paul Kolbany. Next comes a copy of The Illiad of Homer, translated into English blank verse by English poet and hymnodist, William Cowper. The two-volume set, which includes The Odyssey (not shown), was published in 1791. The set is further enhanced with illustrations by noted English sculptor and draftsman, John Flaxman. Finally we come to an edition of Isaac Walton's The Complete Angler. His name is sometimes spelled "Izaak" and "Complete" is often "Compleat," but nonetheless, Walton's celebration of the art and spirit of fishing, written in both prose and verse, has achieved legendary status. The book first appeared in print in 1653, but Walton continued to add to it for a quarter of a century. By the fifth edition, published in 1676, the original thirteen chapters had grown to twenty-one; and a second part was added by a friend and fellow fly fishing enthusiast. Our edition was published in London in 1808. We hope you have the time to come in and enjoy these rare, beautiful volumes.

This exhibition is no longer on view.