Malthus, Francis. Traité des feux artificiels pour la guerre, et pour la recreation; avec plusieurs belles observations, abregez de geometrie, fortifications, horloges solairs, & exemples d'arithmetique [...].

Paris, Pierre Guillemot, 1632.

8vo. (6), 277, (11) pp. With engraved additional title-page as well as numerous engraved and woodcut illustrations in the text, some of which full-page. Contemporary full vellum with handwritten spine-title.


Second edition.

Charmingly illustrated work on the use of mortars in warfare, as well as fireworks as entertainment, first published in 1629. Francis Malthus, an engineer in the royal French army and a captain general of mines and sapping, was responsible for the introduction of mortars to the French army in 1634. As the author had received his education in pyrotechnics on the continent, his work was considered more sophisticated than that of contemporary English experts, and his 1650 "Pratique de la guerre" quickly became one of the most important 17th century books on artillery.

The work at hand is divided into six treatises on artillery fire, fireworks for entertainment, geometry, fortifications, sundials, and arithmetics. The illustrations include land and naval warfare, various models of mortars, fireworks above a city, ballistics, as well as sundials and ground plans of fortresses.

Paper evenly browned throughout, brownstained in places. Provenance: a contemporary ownership (initials in ligature) to additional title-page, dated "Paris 1653". Later in the collection of Thomas Fremantle, 3rd Baron Cottesloe (1862-1956), commander of the Territorial Army and president of the Society for Army History Research.

OCLC 457973451. Cf. Cockle 939 (1633). Spaulding/Karpinski 159 (1661 edition).

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