Seattle, Bill Gates Collection

Codex Hammer Facsimile Edition

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Compiled circa 1508-1510 and probably assembled by Leonardo himself, the codex has had many owners, most recently the American oil-tycoon Hammer in 1980 and in 1994, Bill Gates. It contains digests of his studies on water illustrated by fascinating drawings of currents, cliffs, and whirlpools.

The volume contains notes on hydrodynamics and hydraulic engineering as well as explanations of lunar phases and hypotheses about fossils. In a fascinating continuity between geology and cosmology, palaeontology and astronomy, Leonardo formulates his brilliant theories on the origin of marine life, reflected in images found in the ‘Floods’ and in the background landscapes of his famous paintings. He also vividly describes the numerous places he visited during his ramblings in Tuscany and Lombardy.

The balance between scientific investigation and the science of painting recurs, as in his suggestive analogy between the movement of water and the flow of hair, the results of which are so evident in Leonardo’s masterpieces.

Binding description


We have 2 facsimiles of the manuscript "Codex Hammer":

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Manuscript book description compiled by the publisher.
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#1 Codice Leicester

Ottaviano: Collezione Apocrifa Da Vinci, 2013

  • Commentary (Italian)
  • Limited Edition: 499 copies
  • This is a partial facsimile of the original document, Codex Hammer: the facsimile might represent only a part, or doesn't attempt to replicate the format, or doesn't imitate the look-and-feel of the original document.

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#2 Il Codice Hammer

Florence: Giunti Editore, 1987

Il Codice Hammer, Seattle, Bill Gates Collection, Il Codice Hammer facsimile by Giunti Editore.
Il Codice Hammer facsimile by Giunti Editore.
  • Commentary (English, Italian) by Pedretti, Carlo
  • Limited Edition: 998 copies
  • Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document, Codex Hammer: the facsimile attempts to replicate the look-and-feel and physical features of the original document; pages are trimmed according to the original format; the binding might not be consistent with the current document binding.

The edition contains the facsimile of the codex, the facsimile of a sheet with studies of figures (Hammer 20), and a volume of text (LX-222 pages), printed on handmade paper and bound in Fabriano paper. The facsimile is accompanied by a volume with a contextual presentation of the document in its complex relationship to every aspect of Leonardo’s scientific and artistic production and the individual sheets are complemented by philological, historical and codicological notes (in English) by Carlo Pedretti. This is followed by a vast apparatus of concordances and bibliography.


Leather-covered box (size 335 x 488 mm) with gold tooling.

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