[EUCLID (fl. ca 300 B.C.)] . BYRNE, Oliver (ca 1810-ca 1880), editor. 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. London: Charles Whittingham at the Chiswick Press for William Pickering, 1847.
4to (233 x 185 mm). Half-title. Four-line wood-engraved initials. Color diagrams throughout printed in red, blue, yellow and black. (Title-page and 4 preliminary leaves with small marginal repairs with liquid paper, long horizontal tear crossing leaf repaired on verso of II4, final leaf torn crossing a diagrams, some spotting as often, pale dampstaining and soiling throughout.) Later half morocco gilt (spine slightly sunned and rubbed, editor’s name misspelled on spine in gilt). Provenance: contemporary Collegiate School prize inscription on half-title. BYRNE'S REMARKABLE RENDERING OF EUCLIDEAN GEOMETRY USING FOUR-COLOR PRINTING. 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" (McLean). 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" (McLean). Ing, Charles, Whittingham Printer 46; Keynes, Pickering, pp. 37, 65; McLean, Victorian Book Design, p.70, illustration facing p. 53.
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