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Leonardo da Vinci

The Codex Leicester

Philip Cottrell, Michael Gorman, Michael Ryan

ISBN: 978 1 85759 502 4
Size: 297 x 190 mm / 7.5 x 11.5 in.
Binding: softcover
Pages: 112
Images: 110

UK £14.95 / US $29.95


  • Unique interpretation of one of the most important pieces of scholarly material in existence
  • Includes a foreword by Bill and Melinda Gates, as well as an interpretation by one of Ireland's leading contemporary artists


Many of Leonardo da Vinci's manuscripts were intended as preparatory sketches for future published works, and the Codex Leicester is one of the most advanced. Written densely on 18 sheets illustrated with geometrical diagrams and illustrations of experiments imagined and real, it is a complex and fascinating meditation around a subject that enthralled Leonardo for much of his career: water. Named after the 1st Earl of Leicester who purchased it in 1717, it was later renamed after the wealthy industrialist, art collector and philanthropist Armand Hammer. In 1994 it was bought at auction for $30.8 million by Bill Gates who renamed it once again Codex Leicester'. It will be shown at a special exhibition at the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin in June. The accompanying catalogue reproduces the Codex with informative captions, comparative material, scholarly essays and a contribution from Dorothy Cross, one of Ireland's most important contemporary artists. With a foreword by Bill and Melinda Gates, it elegantly recreates the spell exerted by one of the most extraordinary minds the human race has produced.


Dr Philip Cottrell is a lecturer in Renaissance Art at University College Dublin. Dr Michael John Gorman is Director of the Science Gallery at Trinity College, Dublin. Dr Michael Ryan is Director of the Chester Beatty Library.


"...offers the thrill of proximity to the original Renaissance man"
the irish times

"This notebook gives the clearest sense of Leonardo's thinking about what he called the "body of the earth""
professor martin kemp, abc news