90
90

PROPERTY FROM THE LIBRARY AT FETTERCAIRN HOUSE

Alchemy, science, Ice-age theory, the American Colonies, and poetry
COLLECTION OF NINETEEN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY WORKS IN ONE VOLUME:
Estimate
4,0006,000
LOT SOLD. 8,125 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
90

PROPERTY FROM THE LIBRARY AT FETTERCAIRN HOUSE

Alchemy, science, Ice-age theory, the American Colonies, and poetry
COLLECTION OF NINETEEN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY WORKS IN ONE VOLUME:
Estimate
4,0006,000
LOT SOLD. 8,125 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations

|
London

Alchemy, science, Ice-age theory, the American Colonies, and poetry
COLLECTION OF NINETEEN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY WORKS IN ONE VOLUME:
Hide, Ralph. A Short Discourse...for the advancement...of Woollen Manufactures...1660 [not found in Wing or ESTC]--Reasons for establishing the Colony of Georgia...W. Meadows, 1733, engraved frontispiece, map--Middleton, Conyers. A Dissertation concerning the origin of Printing in England...Cambridge: W. Thurlbourn, 1735--Boyle, Robert. An Historical Account of a degradation of Gold, made by an anti-elixir: a strange chymical narrative...the second edition. R. Montagu, 1739 [Fulton 137, RARE, only four copies recorded]--A Poem to the Memory of Mr. Hugh Murray-Kynnynmound...Edinburgh: T.W. and T. Ruddimans, 1742--Martel, Peter. An Account of the Glacieres or Ice Alps in Savoy, in Two Letters, One from an English Gentleman to his Friend at Geneva; the Other from Peter Martel, Engineer, to the said English Gentleman... for Peter Martel, 1744, two folding engraved plates; and 13 others, including Memoirs of William Pulteney, various editions of Dr Bentley's Proposals, Accounts of the Roman Senate, further poetical pamphlets (some printed in Edinburgh), the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1749); 4to, late eighteenth- or early nineteenth-century quarter calf, marbled boards (spine numbered 33), some staining to some works, upper joint cracked, binding worn (1)
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Provenance

The Forbes Baronetcy was created in 1626 for Sir William Forbes (d. circa 1650) by James VI in the Barontage of Nova Scotia. The majority of the works offered here were acquired by the sixth Baronet, also William (1739-1806), who added Pitsligo to his title in 1781. He was an eminent Scottish banker and benefactor, good friend of James Boswell and Samuel Johnson (see lots 45-46), and finally succeeded in recovering the Pitsligo estates forfeited after the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. His son William, the seventh baronet, beat Sir Walter Scott to the hand of the renowned beauty Williamina Belsches Stuart (1776-1810), and it was with their marriage that the family moved to her family seat, Fettercairn House in Kincardineshire, Aberdeenshire.

One of the sixth baronet’s acquisitions for his library at Pitsligo were numerous highly important miscellanies and tract volumes, many of which were purchased as a set from Edinburgh bookseller Elphinstone Balfour in October 1786. These were subsequently supplemented by further contemporary tracts and other works from the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century. Most of these miscellanies bear a nineteenth century Forbes family bookplate.

Catalogue Note

Robert Boyle's Historical Account of a degradation of Gold was first published in 1678. The reasons behind the publication of the rare second edition (present here) 61 years later, are not clear. This second edition, of which only around seven copies are thought to be recorded in total, is extremely rare at auction, with only the copies sold at Swann in 1987 and Christie's in 1979 recorded on ABPC.  The controversial Degradation was one of a number of works Boyle published around 1676-78 on transmutation and the incalescence of mercury with gold, reflecting the intensity of his contact at the time with people who had claimed to have witnessed alchemical processes, most notably a shadowy circle of French alchemists centred around Georges Pierre. This elicited a strong response from the young Isaac Newton, who thought such matters should not be revealed in public, and created differences between the two that were never reconciled (see Fulton, Bibliography of Robert Boyle, and Oxford DNB). Martel's Account of the Glacieres...in Savoy is a scarce early work on glaciers WHICH FIRST GAVE RISE TO THE THEORY OF THE ICE AGE. Pierre Martel (1706-1767) was a Swiss engineer and geographer, who visited the valley of Chamonix in the Alps of Savoy in 1742, inspired by an earlier visit by William Windham (the English Gentleman in the title). Martel reported that the inhabitants of the valley attributed the erratic dispersal of boulders to the fact that the glaciers had previously extended much further, thus giving rise to ice age theory.

English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations

|
London