Author(s) Bachot, Ambroise
Title Le gouvernail...
Imprint Melun/Paris, A. Bachot, 1598
Localisation Paris, BnF, Res-V-411 (Gallica)
Subject Military Architecture, Machines


     The Gouvernail, the second book published by Ambroise Bachot after the Timon, is less rare than the Timon. Philippe Rouard made a list of five copies: one copy in the Staatsbibliothek in Augsbourg, one in the Landesbibliothek in Darmstadt, one in the British Museum in London, one copy sold in March, 1966 (the Kenney sale) and the copy at the BnF available on the Gallica site. One other copy at the BnF must be added, not accessible for consultation (Numm-105060), another at the library of the Arsenal (fol-S-1645) and a last one at the municipal library at Versailles (Rés. in-fol A 17 k, Rare Books Collection).
A comparison of the Timon and the Gouvernail brings out many differences. Whereas the Timon is entirely engraved, the Gouvernail contains one whole printed first part. Then Bachot took up again approximately two thirds of the texts and figures engraved for the Timon but in a different order and added new plates, in particular of fortifications and war machines, some of which are attributed to F. Mordente. It might be a question of Fabrizio Mordente, the mathematician and creator of a famous sector quarreled over by Giordano Bruno, which made for his fame. It remains that Bachot, in both of these works, developed interesting ideas on inventing and the power of invention which he claimed thus to facilitate and even provoke.

Hélène Vérin (Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Centre Koyré, Paris) – 2006

Critical bibliography

J. Guiffrey, Histoire générale de Paris, artistes parisiens du XVIe et du XVIIe siècles, Paris, Imprimerie nationale, 1915, p. 49.

G. Leroy, Melun sous Henri IV, Melun, Hérissé, 1866, p. 13.

G. Leroy, "Un ingénieur du roy au XVIe siècle", Almanach de Seine-et-Marne, Paris, 1873, pp. 116-119.

P. Renouard, Imprimeurs et libraires parisiens du XVIe siècle, 2, Paris, Service des travaux historiques de la Ville de Paris, 1969, pp. 3-6.

M. Teach Gnudi, "The cover design. Agostino Ramelli and Ambroise Bachot", Technology and culture, 15, 4, 1974, pp. 614-625.