The First Six Books Of The Elements Of Euclid In Which Coloured Diagrams And Symbols Are Used Instead of Letters For The Greater Ease of Learners By Oliver Byrne. Euclid.
The First Six Books Of The Elements Of Euclid In Which Coloured Diagrams And Symbols Are Used Instead of Letters For The Greater Ease of Learners By Oliver Byrne

The First Six Books Of The Elements Of Euclid In Which Coloured Diagrams And Symbols Are Used Instead of Letters For The Greater Ease of Learners By Oliver Byrne

London: Pickering, 1847. First edition. Hardcover. 268 pages. 25 x 20.5 cm. The stark use of primary colors was envisaged by Byrne as a teaching aid. "Each proposition is set in Caslon italic, with a four line initial engraved on wood by Mary Byfield: the rest of the page is a unique riot of red, yellow and blue ... attaining a verve not seen again on book pages till the days of Dufy, Matisse and Derain" Byrne's depiction of Pythagoras is a classic, with the squares being visually interpreted so in vivid blocks of colour. In a technical tour-de-force, Whittingham skillfully aligned the different color blocks for printing to produce "One of the oddest and most beautiful books of the whole century" (see: MCLEAN, VICTORIAN BOOK DESIGN P.70). Byrne, an otherwise unknown mathematician attempts to present Euclid's proofs in terms of pictures, using little text, and in particular as few labels as possible. PRINTING AND THE MIND OF MAN refers to it as a "gay and amusing experiment." Byrne's theory is that by means of colour, the elements of Euclid can be acquired in less than one third the time usually employed, and the retention by the memory is much more permanent. Unfortunately for the publisher, the book did not sell well, more than three quarters of the 1000 run remained unsold when Pickering went into bankruptcy. Toning and spotting as usual, faded title page inscriptions. Modern brown cloth spine and tan boards with original front cover label laid down on front cover. Very good. Item #21542

Price: $6,400.00

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