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Codex Leicester (Hammer).

Leonardo DA VINCI (Author)

Bill Gates.

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Facsimile sheet:


Main theme:

Leonardo da Vinci.
35 x 50 cm.
Hand made. Gold engraved leather on wooden board.
Book and wood dust jacket.
Special “Dali” paper by Poliedra. “La Chiave di lettura” critical apparatus and editing system: numbered references are placed on transparent paper, referring to the key features of Leonardo’s original drawings and letters, enabling his work to be studied and these points commented in separate notes. 350 facsimile drawings.



The Codex Leicester is called also Hammer. This last name derives from the multimillionaire American who was the first owner of it before Bill Gates. It was made from 1506 to 1516, when Leonardo lived in Milan and spent short stays in Florence under the protection of Luigi XII king of France.

Contrary to all the other manuscripts, whose pages change the argument following the humor and the countless interests of Leonardo, almost the whole codex is dedicated to the examination of this topic: the study of waters.

Currents, vortex, waves, drops, canals, banks, locks, dams, tunnels, plans of basins and drainages, list of machines projected in order to use the water energy, plans in order to use water for military purposes, all of these fill up the most part of tables. There are also many texts full of propulsive theories about the great progress that science made at the beginning of Renaissance.

Almost certainly the Codex Leicester was not one of the manuscripts that Francesco Melzi inherited (1493-1570), because it hasn’t his unmistakable notes and abbreviations, that are frequent in the other codices. Certainly it belonged to the sculptor Giovanni della Porta (1500-1570), who was a pupil of Michelangelo. Della Porta’s heirs gave it to the painter Giuseppe Ghezzi (1634-1721), who sold it, in 1717, to Thomas Coke, Leicester Count, whose family looked after it for 263 years.

In 1980, the manuscript was auctioned and the American Armand Hammer bought it. When he died, Bill Gates (Microsoft founder) took the codex.

IBIC Rating:

ACN History of art & design styles: c 1400 to c 1600
ACND Renaissance art
AFF Drawing & drawings
AFJ Other graphic art forms
DSBD Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800
HBJD European history
HBLH Early modern history: c 1450/1500 to c 1700
HBW Military history
JWA Theory of warfare & military science
JWK Defence strategy, planning & research
PDX History of science
PGC Theoretical & mathematical astronomy
TBX History of engineering & technology
TBY Inventions & inventors
TNF Hydraulic engineering
TTM Military engineering
TVB Agricultural science
WCS Antiques & collectables: books, manuscripts, ephemera & printed matter

1D Europe
1DST Italy
2ADT Italian
3H c 1000 CE to c 1500
3JB c 1500 to c 1600