Lisbon: A.P. Galram, 1718.
1st Edition. Hardcover. 4to - over 9¾ - 12" tall. Near Fine. Item #002770
4to (196 x 144 mm). , 183  pp, 12 etched plates (4 folding) signed by Manoel Freyre, M.A.P., and FB; full-page frontispiece of etched coat-of-arms by Fryre bound before title, etched allegorial vignette on title-page with 2 seals bearing the names 'Ioze Franco' & 'I. Rodriges'. Signatures: *-***4 ²***4 A-Z4. Bound in fine near-contemporary mottled calf, spine with 4 raised bands gilt in compartments and with gilt-lettered red morocco label, red-sprinkled edges (little rubbing to extremities, little worming to upper board and front pastedown). Text and plates crisp and clean, with very minor occasional spotting, tiny wormhole to firt 3 leaves not affecting text, small ink smudge to p.44. Provenance: Joze Nogueira Carvalho da Fonseca (ink inscription to verso of frontispiece). An outstanding, completely untouched copy. ----
FIRST EDITION OF ONE OF THE EARLIEST AND MOST IMPORTANT BOOKS ON GUNSMITHING AND OF GREAT RARITY. Espingarda perfeyta (The perfect gun) is the most remarkable treatise on this subject of it's period. "Written in the closing years of the 17th century in Lisbon, it describes the work of three brothers, leading gunsmiths of their day, two of whom signed the book and the third of which remains anonymous. As it was highly unusual to write about the closely guarded secrets of the art, they signed it using anagrams. The three brothers were Jose Francisco, Joao Rodrigues, and Manoel Antonio. Had these three been anxious for publicity, they would hardly have disguised their names. These men were obviously so dedicated to their craft, and so anxious to produce the most perfect gun that they were prepared to risk the enmity of their fellow artisans by revealing the secrets of the trade. They also wished to record for posterity, and the benefit of the less skillful their many discoveries. That there was support for their venture from the highest levels is clearly seen by the magnificent title page. John V of Portugal (1689-1750) was a generous patron of the arts and industry during his reign. He used the enormous royal treasury, swollen from the diamond, spice, and gold trade of Portugal's colonies, to bring to Portugal the brilliance of Europe's enlightenment courts. Unfortunately, spectacular mismanagement by his clerical administrators and the catastrophic Lisbon earthquake of 1755 led to an irresistible decline in Portugal's fortunes." (Dis Pater, The Demesne of Dis Pater, Cap. IV, Espiranga Perfeyta, or Ye Perfect Gun, online resources, 2000).
COPAC records but six copies, with four located in the United States (Harard Univ.; Yale Univ., Indiana Univ., NY Metropolitan Museum of Arts), one in the British Library and another in Berlin. Only one copy recorded at auction in the past 50 years.
Rainer Daehnhardt and W. Keith Neal eds, "Espingarda Perfyta or the Perfect Gun", Sotherby Parke Bernet,London, 1974; James D Lavin, "A history of Spanish Firearms", Herbert Jenkins London, 1965; W. Keith Neal, "Spanish Guns and Pistols", G. Bell and sons, London, 1955.
Encadernação fina meia inteira de carneira não contemporânea mais recente. Lombada com 5 divisões, gravada a ouro floreado (4) e título sobre vermelho Marrocos (ligeiro desgaste nas extremidades, ligeiro vestígio de bicho quase imperceptível na zona superior). Miolo impecável, folhas e texto limpos, papel encorpado sem desgaste visível do tempo, ligeira marca de bicho nas primeiras 3 folhas não afectando de modo algum o texto, muito ligeira marca de tinta na página 44. Proveniência José Nogueira Carvalho da Fonseca (inscrição a tinta no verso do Frontispício). Um exemplar espantoso; original muito limpo e bem estimado. PRIMEIRA EDIÇÃO DE UMA DAS PRIMEIRAS E MAIS IMPORTANTES OBRAS DE E SOBRE ESPINGARDARIA. DE GRANDE RARIDADE.
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