Traité de Topographie, d'arpentage et de nivellement ... Supplément au second livre du Traité de Topographie..
[KING'S LIBRARY] PUISSANT, Louis
Price: 3,450.00 AUD
Paris: Chez Courcier, 1807-, 1810. Quarto, two works bound in one, in total seven folding plates and one folding table, some pages age-toned but overall very good, neatly bound in modern quarter calf, Ingleton bookplate and manuscript note. A fine volume containing rare first editions of two French works of surveying, said on good authority to be from Phillip Parker King's library. Present here are both Puissant's original Traité of 1807, and the rarer supplement from 1810. Louis Puissant (1768-1843), was born in the Champagne region of France, and learnt geometry as part of his early training as a land-surveyor. First employed in the French war department in 1790, his ability meant that he worked in difficult regions like the Pyrenees and the island of Elba. Early in his career he wrote and published a book on the subject of the shape of the earth, and from 1809 directed the École de Géographes in Paris. He is best remembered for his invention of a new map projection of France, which was produced with considerable detail, using spherical trigonometry, truncated power series and differential geometry. The belief that this is Phillip Parker's King's copy is derived from a note in the hand of the important Australiana collector, Geoffrey C. Ingleton explaining how he bought this work "from a descendant of Phillip Parker King, who owned this book." Given King's renown as a naval officer and hydrographer, his ownership of Puissant's significant study is eminently possible, and certainly the date of its publication tailors neatly with the details of his early career. King, family tradition attests, had been encouraged to pursue a career in hydrography by Matthew Flinders. King had first met Flinders as a child, but the two were reaquainted in 1810, shortly after Flinders return from imprisonment under the French. In turn, in 1811 Flinders introduced him to Sir Joseph Banks. Of course, King's own survey of parts of the Australian coast began in 1817. Ingleton's note also comments that he had the book rebound in 1980. Nonetheless, no copy of either of these important works is recorded on the Libraries Australia Gateway. A second enlarged edition was produced in 1820.