The title-page of Norton’s The Gunner…, in which cannon serve as architectural pillars. Sold by Tennants for £2000.

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Bidding on June 8 reached £2000 for this 1628 first of Robert Norton’s The Gunner…, a work that also offers a guide to the manufacture of fireworks, “…as well for for Pleasure and Triumphes, as for Warre and Service”.

The plates, it seems, derive from French and/or German editions of Diego Ufano’s Tratado del artillera, first published in 1612. However, Norton, a gunner in royal service, sometime engineer at the Tower of London and author of a number of mathematical works, claimed that his book was an adaptation rather than a translation of the Ufano treatise.

This copy, in a worn calf binding, had some staining and marginal worming but contained 30 engraved plates, some of them double-page.