News round-up: July 2016

In situNicolaus Copernicus’ De Revolutionibus and Commentariolus (pi f521 Cop 22), published in 1566

Loan of SCC book to the Swiss National Museum

As part of the exhibition Europe in the Renaissance: Metamorphoses 1400 – 1600, an item from the Special Collections Centre’s Liddel Library, Copernicus’ De Revolutionibus and Commentariolus, was taken to Zurich by Louisa Coles, Paper Conservator in the Glucksman Conservation Centre. It will be on display at the new wing of the Landesmuseum, part of the Swiss National Museum, until late November 2016.

This exhibition presents the story of this fascinating period, acknowledging the influence of antiquity and the Orient in providing a strong foundation for the development of the Modern Age. It is exhibited alongside over 300 objects from across Europe and the USA. The book is included in a room illustrating how the invention of letterpress printing facilitated the rapid spread of new knowledge across Europe.

In this second edition of Revolutionibus, published in 1566, Copernicus presented the theory that the sun, rather than the earth, was at the centre of the cosmos. He also theorised that the earth was not static, but instead revolved on its axis. This copy is heavily annotated by its original owner, Duncan Liddel, with notes and theories of his own and of other astronomers of the time. It is particularly important as it also contains a manuscript copy of an earlier work by Copernicus, the Commentariolus, in which his theory about the sun and the cosmos had first been presented. It is one of only three copies that have survived. This document is bound with the Revolutionibus, with individual manuscript pages located at the corresponding section of printed text.

Further information about the book is available on our website:

Copernicus’ De Revolutionibus and Commentariolus:



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