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LARDNER, Dionysius (ed.)

The Museum of Science & Art.

Illustrated by engravings on wood.

London, Walton and Maberly, 1854-6 Stock Code: 118187
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First edition, the complete set, of the Irish writer and popular lecturer's treatises on a wide range of scientific topics, including astronomy, geology, optical images, the steam engine, and clocks. "At the height of his career, Lardner lectured extensively on scientific and technical subjects, wrote prolifically, and became a scientific celebrity. He wrote treatises on mechanics, pneumatics, and Newton's optics for the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, and contributed the chapters on algebra and geometrical analysis to the Encyclopedia Metropolitana. He oversaw seven editions of The Steam Engine Familiarly Explained and Illustrated, which eventually had eleven editions in Britain, as well as American editions and translations into French, German, Italian, and Danish; The Athenaeum called it 'the most popular mechanical treatise ever published' (962). He promoted the new Monthly Chronicle and edited it in 1838 and 1839. He contributed important articles to the Edinburgh Review, notably a clear account of Charles Babbage's calculating engine (which Babbage himself recommended), and discussions of issues relating to steam transportation. He enjoyed great popularity as a lecturer, appearing at the Royal, London, and London mechanics' institutions; his lectures to provincial literary and philosophical societies and mechanics' institutes were eagerly awaited and widely praised as appearances of a great figure from the metropolis" (ODNB). Lardner became renowned as the editor of the 133-volume Cabinet Cyclopaedia during the 1830s and 1840s, whose contributors included Sir Walter Scott, Thomas Moore, Robert Southey, Sir David Brewster, and Mary Shelley.

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12 volumes bound in 6, octavo (184 x 113 mm). Original red ribbed cloth, spines lettered in gilt, boards and spines decorated in blind, centrepiece to front boards in gilt and to rear boards in blind, yellow endpapers, edges sprinkled red.


Woodcut illustrations throughout.


Contemporary gift inscription to front free endpaper of vol. 1, ownership inscriptions to front pastedowns, binder's tickets to rear pastedowns. Spines lightly sunned, extremities bumped and rubbed, a few marks to cloth, contents occasionally foxed, overall a bright, clean set.


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