Rare Science Book: Neri, Antonio; Antonio Neri Florentini, de Arte Vitraria Libri VII. 1686

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Neri, Antonio; Antonio Neri Florentini, de Arte Vitraria Libri VII. & in eosdem Christophori Merretti, MD & Societatis Regiae Socii, observationes & notae. In quibus omne gemmarum artificialium, encaustorum & laccarum artificium explicatur. Amstelaedami: apud Henr. Wetstenium. 1686. 16 mo,    ( 137 x  77 mm), pp. 4, 36, 440, 16, 4,  engraved frontispiece, 6 engraved plates.

The work is complete and in an early calf without a spine title, the text is uncut. Binding is clean and scuffed, the text is very clean as are the plates. Early book dealer description tipped in at the first blank leaf. In very good condition.


Antonio Ludovic Neri (1576 - 1614); the son of a physician, was born in Florence, entered the church and by 1601 was a priest in the household of Alamanno Bertoini in Florence. There he met the Portuguese nobleman Emanuel Ximenes and shared his interest in chemistry and other sciences. He soon developed an interest in the making of glass. Soon Neri was working as a craftsman in the Medici glass house in Florence and succeeded in making glass much like Chalcedony. Ximennes persuaded Neri to spend time with the glassmakers in Antwerp and then at the Medici glasshouse in Pisa. There he refined the methods for making coloured glass. During this time he was writing down his observations and techniques for glass making and in 1612 his “Arte Vetraria” first appeared. ?The importance of Neri’s work was immediately apparent. Although there were restrictions on the movement of craftsmen who worked with glass and also mirror-makers Neri’s systematic textbook dealing with the preparation and treatment of raw materials for glassmaking, together with directions for making a variety of types of white and coloured glass became widely available with Neri’s book.?Neri’s text was praised by the Royal Society in London as an example of a book on a useful trade and the first English translation by Christopher Merrett appeared in 1642.  Other editions both in Italian, English, German, French, Spanish and Latin spread the knowledge across Europe by 1785. We offer here the 1686 Latin translation which contains Merrett’s additions and improvements from the English edition. The importance of this work cannot be overstated. In 1622, for example, an English company sent six Italian glassmaking artisans to the Jamestown colony in the New World.