Manzini, Carlo Antonio (1599-1677).
L’Occhiale all’Occhio. Dioptrica practica... Doue si tratta della Luce; della Reffratione dei Raggi; dell’Occhio; della Vista; e degli aiuti, che dare si possono à gli Occhi per vedere quasi l’impossibile.... Bologna, Vittorio Benacci's Heirs, 1660.
4° (207x148 mm). Collation: ☩6 (fol. ☩3 signed ☩2), A-Z4, A-Ll4. , 268,  pages, lacking the engraved portrait of Eustachio Divini. Roman and italic type. Woodcut vignette on the title-page showing a telescope, with the inscription 'REFERT INGENTI FOENORE' in a cartouche. Numerous woodcut illustrations and diagrams in the text, one full-page woodcut on fol. P4v depicting a 'Moletta Forfice'. Woodcut decorated initials and tailpieces. Eighteenth-century cardboard 'alla rustica', recased. Nineteenth-century paper label on the spine, bearing an early shelfmark. A few small stains on the covers. A very fine copy, slightly spotted, more heavily to the blank outer margin of the first quires.
Provenance: from the library of the celebrated telescope maker Eustachio Divini (1610-1685; his ownership inscription on the title-page 'Eustachio Diuini'); monogram combining the letters O and K at the bottom of the title-page; Giorgio Tabarroni (1921-2001; ex-libris on the front pastedown).
An exceptional copy – owned by the well-known optical instrument manufacturer Eustachio Divini – of the first edition of the first comprehensive work on telescope and lens making.
Manzini's magnum opus, the Occhiale all'Occhio, deals with all aspects of optics, from ocular anatomy to the characteristics of light and its refraction, focusing especially on techniques for manufacturing all kinds of telescopes and microscopes. The author, a Bolognese nobleman, was the pupil of the renowned astronomer Giovanni Antonio Magini, and was acquainted with numerous scientists of the day, such as Bonaventura Cavalieri, Ovidio Montalbani, and Giovanni Battista Riccioli. Among his technological accomplishments counts “a further improvement on a lathe for polishing and grinding lenses”, and the treatise of 1660 has been deemed “one of the most important early works on the subject of practical optics and lens making” (S. A. Bedini, “The Aerial Telescope”, p. 397).
In the Proemio al Lettore, Manzini celebrates Eustachio Divini as the first experimenter to have perfected the art of telescope making. Born in San Severino delle Marche (Ancona), Divini was active in Rome as of 1646 as a maker of clocks, lenses, microscopes and long-focus telescopes. Indeed, Manzini even defines the science of dioptrica as a 'divine art', a play on Divini's own name (fols. ☩5r-v).
His close relationship with Divini is demonstrated by two of the latter's works, which take the form of letters addressed to Manzini: the Lettera all'Ill.mo Conte Carl'Antonio Manzini. Si ragguaglia di un nuovo lavoro, e componimento di lenti, che servono à Occhialoni (Rome 1633), and the Lettera intorno alle macchie novamente scoperte nel mese di Luglio 1665 nel pianeta di Giove con suoi cannocchiali all'Illustriss. Sig. Conte Carlo Antonio Manzini (Rome 1666). There Divini describes the construction of his new 'occhialone' of fifty-two spans and the astronomical discoveries made possible by his telescopes, also recalling Manzini's Dioptrica of 1660.
The copy presented here may have been sent to Divini by Manzini shortly before its effective publication; this would explain why Divini's portrait is missing, as it was printed on different paper and bound after the printing in the standard copies. This copy contains textual corrections, emending misprints or inserting words omitted by the compositor (see fols. B1v, E4v, M1r, S1v, Y2v, Ff1v, Hh2v and Hh4v). These emendations are certainly authorial and added in the printing house.
STC 17th Century, 530; NLM/Krivatsy 7389; Riccardi II, p. 96; Wellcome II, p. 48; S. A. Bedini, “The Aerial Telescope”, Technology and Culture, 8 (1967), p. 367; M. L. Righini Bonelli - A. Van Helden, Divini and Campani: A Forgotten Chapter in the History of the Accademia del Cimento, Firenze 1981; V. Ilardi, Reinassance Vision from Spectacles to Telescope, Philadelphia 2007, p. 229; R. Bellé, “L'occhiale all'occhio. Un testo del XVII secolo sulla costruzione dei telescopi”, Atti della Fondazione Giorgio Ronchi, 64 (2009), pp. 453-480; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 208.