Tractatus septem, de lapide philosophico...

Leiden, Christoffel Raphelengius at the Officina Plantiniana, 1599.

[bound with:]

DUVAL, Robert (also Robertus Vallensis). De veritate et antiquitate artis chemicae et pulveris sive medicinae philosophorum vel auri potabilis... Leiden, Christoffel Raphelengius at the Officina Plantiniana, 1593.

8vo, pp. 96; 46; woodcut devices to the titles; very light toning, but very good copies, in contemporary brown boards; spine perished, boards loose and rubbed; some contemporary annotations to the text.


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Very rare first edition of Balbian’s Seven tracts on the philosophers’ stone, an alchemical text edited by the Belgian doctor and alchemist, which was eventually republished in vol. III of Theatrum chemicum.

It is bound with the second, also rare edition of Duval’s treatise, hailed by Ferguson as the first history of chemistry, and first published in 1561. Duval’s De veritate, which also became part of the Theatrum chemicum, includes a proto-bibliography of alchemy, a list of venerable authorities.

Both books were produced in the Leiden branch of the Plantin press, set up by Christopher Plantin from 1581, to immediate success. Christopher’s daughter Margaretha married Franciscus Raphelengius, who led the Leiden branch of the house. Two more generations of Van Ravelinge carried on catering for the refined and demanding intellectual appetites of the University city, until 1619.

I: Ferguson I, 67; Wellcome 684; see Duveen 40. II: Ferguson 496.

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