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EYRE, John.

The Exact Surveyor:

or, the whole Art of Surveying Land. Shewing how to Plot all manner of Grounds, whether small Inclosures, Champain plaine, Wood lands, or Mountaines, by the Plain Table, Theodolite, or Circumferentor; And how exactly to prove the truth thereof.

London: Nathaniel Brook, 1654 Stock Code: 145024
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First and sole edition, first issue (with the author's initial only given on the title page) of this scarce surveying manual, an online search of institutional libraries records just 12 locations, and only a single complete copy shows at auction since the celebrated C. E. Kenney sales of 1965-8 (the Macclesfield copy, in later boards, Sotheby's 2004).

Richeson, in English Land Measuring to 1800 (1966), calls Eyre's book "a lucid discussion of the art of surveying written in a clear style" and mentions that he lays "more stress on the use of logarithms and on trigonometric methods than any previous author". John Eyre himself remains an obscure figure, described simply on the title page as "Practitioner in the Mathematicks". In his foreword he remarks that "it was written by the Author at his Recreative houres, for his private use, and now at the request of Friends is made publique". There was a wave of surveying manuals published at this time, in part stimulated by the colonization of Ireland, and also by the work of William Petty, who "reasserted the bond between surveying and agrarian improvement" (McRae, p. 196).

Contemporary letterpress bookseller's ticket of Abisha Brocas "bookseller in Exeter. 1674" mounted on the front pastedown, small piece removed from the corner, no loss of text; later ownership inscription of ?"C. Blanche Thornycroft, 1879" along the bottom edge.

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Octavo (158 x 100 mm). Contemporary blind-panelled sheep, speckled edges.


Woodcut frontispiece and numerous woodcut diagrams to the text, tables, engraved advertisement on A4 recto, additional finely engraved advertisement for the instrument maker Henry Sutton, Threadneedle Street,bound before the text, 2 leaves of advertisemen


Rubbed and with some stripping from the boards, spine sometime repaired, hinges a little cracked, tan burn to the endpapers, light browning throughout, but remains a very good and attractive copy.


ESTC R219792; Taylor 216; Wing E3941; institutional holdings: two at Oxford, BL, Dulwich College, NMM, Science Museum, Columbia, UCLA, Iowa, Virginia, Marquette, and Michigan; see Andrew McRae, God Speed the Plough: The Representation of Agrarian England,


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