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Enlightened reflections on mining

LUCHET, Jean Pierre Louis de (= Marquis de LA ROCHE DU MAINE).
Essais sur la minéralogie et la métallurgie.
Maestricht, J.E. Dufour & P. Roux, 1779. 3 parts in 1 volume. 8vo (22.5 x 13.5 cm). Contemporary decorated paper wrappers. [4], XXVII, [1], 232 pp.
€ 2,250
Very rare first edition (printed in Maastricht) of a mining manual by a French enlightened marquis who worked as chief librarian at the Hessen-Kassel court of Friedrich II (1720-1785). Although mentioned reference literature, the book is very rare on the market and we found no copy in auction records. Luchet was an acquaintance of Voltaire and in fact had a letter of recommendation from him that helped him obtain his position at the Hessen-Kassel court. Luchet's other writings concerned literature and theatre, which makes this mining manual a curious standout. It is unclear why this work was printed in Maastricht, except that the Maastricht (south Limburg) region does have a long history of mining. In a lengthy discourse on mining in the preliminaries Luchet makes a strong pro-mining statement. This is followed by reflections on several aspects of mining, often in a question and answer form. He goes into the medical consequences of mining and names several minerals and metals such as coal, quartz, lead, tin, gold, silver, copper and more.A second edition appeared in 1797, often bound with H. Struve, Methode analytique des fossils, Lausanne, 1797.
Bookplate on front paste-down, owner's name on title-page, small stamp on title-page and pages 9, 99, 199 and 232. First few pages with marginal stains. Binding worn. Otherwise in good condition and wholly untrimmed. Geology emerging 1404; Hoover 549; Wellcome III p. 451; Worldcat (3 copies); not in Margerie.
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Science & technology  >  Earth Sciences | Mineralogy & Gems