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An Exposition of the Creed [Isaac Newton's Copy]

 
An Exposition of the Creed [Isaac Newton's Copy] by PEARSON, John [Sir Isaac Newton] (1701)

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Author: PEARSON, John [Sir Isaac Newton]
Title: An Exposition of the Creed [Isaac Newton's Copy]
 
Year: 1701
Publisher: B. Sam. Keble
Place: London
Dust Jacket: No
Signed: No
 
Price: £9500
 
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[12] pp 398 Sir Isaac Newton's copy of 'Pearson On the Creed' with the Musgrave bookplate and a single Newtonian dog-ear pointing to the word 'eternity'. Small folio in a Cambridge binding of panelled calf, blind edge-roll; six spine compartments, lacking the morocco spine label but with 'Pearson on the Creed' written where the label would have been. The binding is sound but starting at the top and tail of the upper hinge, there is rubbing to the edges and extremities of the book. The text block has faded red speckled edges. James Musgrave's engraved 'Philosophemur' bookplate (9.5x10.5cm) appears on the front paste-down with Musgrave's shelf-mark 'B2-19' written at the top left-hand corner and the second Musgrave shelf-mark from Barnsley Park written at the bottom of the bookplate: 'Case R. B.9 Barnsley'. Opposite the paste-down the front free end-paper has been neatly and quite deliberately scissored out a considerable time ago, in all likelihood to sell a Newtonian ownership signature or annotation which was written on that leaf. There is a single large Newtonian dog-ear close to the end of the text which folds up the corner at the tail of the leaf, pointing to 'eternity' in the sentence: 'But as the fire is termed eternal, so that eternity is described as absolute, excluding all limits, prescinding from all determinations' - a passage dealing with the 'eternity of that fire prepared for the Devil and his Angels...' The text is otherwise unmarked barring a pencil annotation to the title page 'Best edition published of this work' and another older ink annotation to the title page 'e[underlined] g [just below]' (see Harrison, p43 on 'The second kind of coding-marks found in Newton's books).

Newton died intestate and his library was bought by the Warden of the Fleet Prison John Huggins for his son, the vicar Charles Huggins. This copy does not appear in the first catalogue or so-called 'Huggins List' which was compiled at the time of sale and it does not appear to have the first of the two bookplates, that of the collection's second owner, Charles Huggins, although this could be concealed beneath the larger Musgrave bookplate. This copy of Pearson On the Creed does indeed have James Musgrave's later eighteenth century bookplate and his handwritten shelf-mark as well as appearing in the Musgrave Catalogue as 'PEARSON, John, Bp of Chester. An exposition of the Creed. 7th ed. revised and corrected. Fo, London 1701' (Harrison p213 and with the Musgrave shelfmark that Harrison surmises.) There is also the subsequent Barnsley Park shelf-mark. Newton owned at least one other work by Pearson, his Opera Posthuma of 1688 which is now at Trinity College, Cambridge. Pearson was Master of Trinity when Newton came up and his ownership of both volumes seems perfectly sensible. The absence of this title from the Huggins list means that it can not be attributed with certainty to Newton's collection however the presence of the large dog-ear and the neatly removed endpaper lend weight to the evidence presented by the Musgrave bookplate and manuscript shelf-marks.
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