Ex dono Auctoris
Meyer, Cornelius (1629-1701)
Nuovi ritrovamenti divisi in due parti con trè Tavole in lingua Latina, Francese, & Ollandese. Parte prima. Delli ordegni per cavar pali. Armature della calamita. Del modo di levare i sassi sott’acqua, e trovar la lega dell’oro, e dell’argento... Rome, Giovanni Giacomo Komarek, 1696. (bound with:) Idem. Alla Santità di N.S. Papa Innocentio XI. Beatissimo Padre. [Rome, Giacomo Antonio de Lazzeri Varese, 1679]. (bound with:) Idem. Nuovi ritrovamenti dati in luce dall’Ingegneiro [sic] Cornelio Meyer per eccitare l’ingegno de’ virtuosi ad aumentarli, ò aggiungervi maggior perfettione... Rome, Giovanni Giacomo Komarek, 1689. (together with:) Idem. L’Arte di restituire à Roma la tralasciata Navigatione del suo Tevere. Divisa in tre parti.... Giacomo Antonio de Lazzari Varese, 1685.
Two volumes containing four works, in near uniform bindings.
First volume. Three works bound together, folio (411x261 mm). I.  unsigned leaves, including title-page with a large engraved vignette showing a dragon with the caption 'Drago come viveva il primo di Decembre 1691 nelle paludi fuori di Roma'; dedication to the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo III dated Rome, 22 June 1696; 22 leaves consisting of plates with letter-press explanatory text, all of them half-page (except two full-page and three double-page); 4 leaves of indices in Latin, French, and Dutch. Roman and italic type. II. Collation: A14.  leaves. Issued without title-page, opening with dedicatory epistle to Innocent XI. Twelve numbered half-page engravings accompanied by explanatory text below, printed on recto only. Roman and italic type. The plates are partly dated between 1677 and 1679, engraved by Giovanni Battista Falda and Jacques Blondeau, after Meyer. III. Collation: [π]2-1, A-D2, 2D2, E2-1.  leaves. Roman and italic type. Typographical ornament on the title-page. Fifteen engravings in the text, two of which are double page. Most of the plates signed by Meyer as designer, and sometimes as both designer and engraver. The double-page astronomical engraving is signed by Ioannes Baptista Honoratus Polustinus.
Contemporary limp vellum. Extremities of the spine damaged. Fine, unsophisticated copy. Worm-tracks on the upper margin of several leaves not affecting the text, some leaves somewhat loose.
Second volume. Three parts, folio (401x265 mm).  leaves, 15,  pages. All leaves are unsigned, except for fols. [9-10] signed A-A2 and the final 8 leaves signed A-D2. The edition includes: two additional titles with dedication to Innocent XI and a large allegorical engraving present here in two states (one variant has the caption title 'Fluminis Fluctus Letificant Civitatem' written on a cartouche on top of the engraving, while the second version has 'D.O.M.' instead); a letter-press title with a woodcut ornament; sixty-eight engraved illustrations and maps (six double-page, one full-page and the rest half-page). The final 15 pages contain the relations of the Sacra Congregatio riparum Tyberis, and end with the colophon 'Romae, ex Typographia Rev. Cam. Apost., 1685'. The first illustration of part two, a double-page map showing the Delineatione del stagno di Maccarese, is captioned: 'In Roma, nella stamperia di Nicol'Angelo Tinassi, 1681'. The comet plate referred to in the list of plates is absent, in keeping with all other copies. At the bottom of the figura quarta in Part one are two contemporary ink drawings of technical structures. Roman and italic type. Woodcut head- and tailpieces.
Contemporary vellum, over thin boards. Spine with inked title, partly damaged and with a few losses. A genuine copy, with good margins. Some browning and foxing, double-page map of Delinatione del stagno di Maccarese heavily browned.
Provenance: I. Meyer's own inscription 'Ex dono Auctoris' on the verso of the front flyleaf; on the front pastedown nineteenth-century armorial ex-libris of the Odescalchi family, bearing the motto 'per servire s'acquista servi quando poi', and engraved by Michelassi. II. Meyer's own inscription 'Ex dono Auctoris' on the verso of the front flyleaf.
Two-volume set containing four rare first editions by Cornelius Meyer (Cornelis Meijer), both volumes bearing the author's inscription 'Ex dono Auctoris'. Dedication copies of these already rare works are extremely hard to come by separately, and even more so bound together, and in copies complete with all their parts. This is the case of this set, in which the first volume also bears the ex-libris of the Odescalchi family, and it is especially noteworthy that Pope Innocent XI Odescalchi was the patron of Meyer as well as the dedicatee of the second edition bound in this volume.
I. The first work bound – Nuovi ritrovamenti divisi in due parti... Parte prima – though printed seven years later, in 1696, forms the first section of a two-part work, which gathers some of the author's technical inventions and scientific experiments. The second part, Nuovi ritrovamenti dati in luce, was issued first, in 1689, but both texts are clearly related insofar as the index to both parts is printed at the end of the Part one.
The plates show inventions and experiments undertaken by Meyer in Rome and other places like Livorno and Civitavecchia: among others, the large magnet of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, instruments and technical tools to raise cannons and poles from below the sea and to break stones underwater, methods for melting metals, canalization and other hydraulic works, a plan of the harbor of Livorno, fortification works, spectacles, games and curiosities including how to break a glass with a musical instrument, the eclipse of Jupiter's first satellite, a map of the mouth of Po river, chariots, the design of a room, the orbit of a comet, and fountains. One of the plates included here shows the Civitavecchia harbor, where the author recovered the hull of a sunken vessel.
The third work included in the first volume – the one bound in the middle – is the rarest of all three. It was issued without a title-page and opens with a dedication to Innocent XI Odescalchi. Meyer's name appears at the end of the dedication, while the imprint is at the bottom of the last two leaves. As stated in the notice to the reader, with this publication Meyer intended to show to the general public how he so brilliantly completed the first task assigned to him by Clement X upon his arrival in Rome.
Born in Amsterdam, Cornelius Meyer left his country in 1674 for Venice, then a popular destination for Dutch engineers seeking employment. He moved to Rome one year later. Pope Clement X put Meyer in charge of a major project aimed at protecting the Via Flaminia against the flooding of the Tiber. Meyer, whose plans were less expensive than those proposed by the project's former head engineer, Carlo Fontana, constructed a passonata, i.e., a row of piles, in the Tiber, which deflected the river's current away from the Via Flaminia.
II. First edition of Meyer's important work on the restoration of the Tiber River for navigation, L'arte di restituire a Roma la tralasciata navigatione del suo Tevere, which is considered his masterpiece, and is presented here in its second issue (the first issue is dated 1683 on the title-page).
After this first successful work on the Tiber, Clement X and his successor Innocent XI hired Meyer to improve navigation on the river with the purpose of increasing commerce. Meyer came up with revolutionary solutions to expedite travel along the river and in 1683, with the help of artist Gaspar van Wittel, he published his projects in L'arte di restituire a Roma la tralasciata navigatione del suo Tevere. The book, which is divided into three parts, was both a record of Meyer's engineering skills as well as a form of self-promotion for seeking further commissions. It includes a beautiful series of etchings by Meyer himself as well as by Giovanni Battista Falda, Gaspar van Wittel, Jacques Blondeau, Barend de Bailliu, Balthasar Denner, Gomar Wouters, Johannes Collin, and Ioannes Baptista Honoratus Polustinus. It was with his designs in L'arte di restituire that Meyer consolidated his reputation among the artistic and scientific elite of Rome.
Michel & Michel V, p. 161; Cicognara 3791-3792; Olschki 17589; Poggendorff II, 134; Rossetti 7022-7023c; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 219.