Lot 410
  • 410

Alchemical Manuscript.

20,000 - 30,000 GBP
43,750 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Sapientia Veterum
with a Latin introductory treatise, including an address to the reader and discussions of the significance of sulphur, three of the elements ("De Elemento Terrae", "De Elemento Aquae", and "De Elemento Aeris") and the forms and combinations of the elements, 12 pages, in a single early seventeenth-century hand, followed by an English translation of the address to the reader ("The Wisdom of the Antients. To The Reader") added later in the hand of General Charles Rainsford, 6 pages, the bulk of the manuscript comprising 67 finely-executed ink and watercolour illustrations symbolic of alchemical processes culminating in the creation of the "red stone" or the "philosophers' stone", the first illustration with a general title ("Angelorum opus, Authore Hermete phylosopho perito") and each subsequent illustration captioned in Latin or English (e.g. "Mercurius", "Preparation", "Quinta Essentia", and finally "Fixation") and numbered, each image depicted within a circle or a flask, certain of the illustrations with additional notes on elements and associating the alchemical processes with an ascent up the angelic hierarchy (e.g. number 6 "Gabriel", number 28 "Potestates", and number 66 "Thrones"), with a note on the manuscript's provenance and significance on the front free endpapers in Rainsford's hand ("valued by [William] Cooper at 15-0-0 Cooper the Bookseller at the Pellican Little Britain 1678 ... I believe these MSS to have been Eirenius Philalethes own writings”), altogether 85 pages, plus blanks, folio (320 x 200mm., watermark of the arms of Schieland [see Heawood no. 481]), early seventeenth century, vellum endpapers, nineteenth-century red morocco gilt with the centrepiece Northumberland armorial stamp, gilt edges, some light soiling, spine sunned, some scuffing especially at joints