The History Of The Heavens, Considered according to the Notions of the Poets and Philosophers, Compared witgh the Doctrines of Moses. Translated from the French of the Abbé Pluche, Author of the Spactacle de la Nature; or, Nature Displayd. By J.B. De Freval, Esq; The Second Edition. To which is added, A Revisal of the Work. Vol. I. (II.)

Noel Antoine Pluche

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Uniform Title

[Histoire du ciel., English., 1741.]


London:: Printed for J. Osborn, at the Golden Ball in Paternoster-Row; And Sold by C. Rivington, C. Davis, T. Longman, T. Astley, S. Austen, C. Hitch, J. Wood and C. Woodward, near St. Paul's; J. Hodges, on London Bridge; J. Brindley, H. Chapelle, in Bond-street; R. Dodsley, in Pall-Mall; J. Pemberton, in Fleet-street; and J. Leake, at Bath., M.DCC.XLI.

Physical Description

2 vols.; 201 mm. (Octavo).

General Note

Vol. I: [2], x, [2], 288, [6] p., frontis., [23] pl. - Vol. II: [2], 312, 91, [9] p., frontis. Each of the plates is pasted in.


Vol. I: [Frontis., t.p.] - The Plan Of This Work - The Approbation [Paris, 1738] - Errata in Vol. I. (II.) - The Bookbinder Is desired to paste the Cuts ... - [Text, with pl.] - Index - Explanation of the Frontispiece. - Vol. II: [Frontis., t.p.] - [Text] - A Revisal Of The History Of The Heavens - Index - Order of the cuts of Vol. I. (II.).

Responsibility Note

The note in Volume I requesting the Bookbinder to paste in the cuts states that they 'are the original ones, engraven at Paris'. Twelve are signed as made or engraved by J.P. Le Bas; the rest are unsigned.


A.D. Momigliano, 'Historiography of religion', in Encyclopaedia of religion, vol. 6 (1987), p. 383-90; The rise of modern mythology 1680-1860, ed. B. Feldman (1972). On the iconography of classical myths see the note on V. Cartari, Les Images des dieux (1581).

Summary Note

A note at the end of the list of the 'Order of the cuts' at the end of Volume II states that the 25 cuts are 'extracted from the monuments of antquity', and are derived from Montfaucon's 'Antiquity explained', V. Cartari's 'Le imagini de i Dei de gli antichi', the agate cup at St. Denis and the Mensa iliaca published by Pignorius.

They show Democritus; symbols of God; Anubis; nilometers; Osiris or Atys; Serapis or Pluto; Isis; godesses of Syria and Ephesus; Egyptian plants; Osiris, Isis and Horus; Horus; Horus; progress of husbandry; Harpocrates and Angerona; heavenly host; Cybele; Pallas; Panim of Bacchanals; Silenus, Latona, Mercury; rising dog-star; Horus, Harpy, Graces; Parca, Syren, fury; Bellerophon; Circe or Isis; symbolic staves.


Acquired between 1769 and 1802. Recorded in RAA Library, Catalogue, 1802.

Binding Note

18th-century calf; rebacked in 20th century, red morocco spine-labels lettered 'History Of The Heavens I (II)'.


Astronomy - Cosmology - Religion and science - Mythology - Mythology, Egyptian - Egypt - Middle East - History
Pictorial works - 18th century


John Baptist De Freval, translator
Jacques Philippe Le Bas, engraver
J. Osborn, publisher
Charles Hitch, bookseller