Auctioneers and Appraisers

Rathborne, Aaron (1572-1618) The Surveyor in Foure Bookes.






Books & Manuscripts - 3117B
Date / Time :
July 20, 2018 12:00PM


Rathborne, Aaron (1572-1618) The Surveyor in Foure Bookes. London: Printed by W. Stansby for W. Burre, 1616. First edition, elaborate engraved title page by William Hole; finely engraved portrait by Francis Delaram (fl. 1615-1624) on A4 recto of the dedicatee, a sixteen year old Charles I of England as Prince of Wales; engraved portrait of the author on the final leaf (X4) by Simon van de Passe (1595?-1647); text diagrams, large text woodcut on page 130; bound in full contemporary limp parchment, fragments of alum-tawed ties, from the Kenney Collection, with their book ticket pasted inside the front board, 10 1/2 x 7 in.

"Aaron Rathborne described himself as 'A gentleman practitioner in the mathematiques.' In 1616 he published The Surveyor in Foure Bookes, deemed at the time to be the most complete book on surveying in the English language. Today a copy of this book is considered quite rare. For historians of surveying, it presented the first complete picture of a seventeenth century surveyor at work and of his instruments. The frontispiece has a structure supported by two allegorical figures of Arithmetica and Geometria surmounted by celestial and terrestrial globes. The upper vignette depicts an experienced surveyor trampling 'fools and dunces underfoot.' The Surveyor was one of the first books to strongly advocate the use of mathematics in survey projects. In his book, Rathborne presented the basic principles of geometry and discussed their applications in surveying. He advocated use of the recently introduced decimal arithmetic of Simon Stevin (1585) and urged the employ of the 'new pocket tables' of logarithms." (Quoted from Frank J. Swetz's "Mathematical Treasure: Rathborne's Surveyor in Four Books," Convergence, July 2014.)

A-V6, X4 (A1 blank & present; cancelled leaves in signature O; O3 verso with "58 4/5" on fifth line).
Estimate $4,000-6,000

The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.


Aaron Rathborne, Simon Stevin, Simon van de Passe, William Hole, Frank J. Swetz, London, United Kingdom, Wales, Francis Delaram, Surveying