standard text on elements, principles, and chemical processes

Institutiones chimicae prodromae, id est ... Oedipus chimicus, obscuriorum terminorum & principiorum chimicorum, mysteria aperiens & resolvens. Opusculum, omnibus medicinae & chimiae studiosis lectu perquàm utile & necessarium.

Amsterdam, Elizeus Weyerstrat, 1664.

12mo, ff. [8, including engraved allegorical frontispiece and one plate], pp.202, [6], [2, blank]; a couple of leaves a little soiled; a few leaves with short horizontal wormtrack, affecting the odd word only; a very good, crisp copy in contemporary calf; minor wear to head and tail of spine and corners.

£2700

Approximately:
US $3457€3070

Make an enquiry

Added to your basket:
Institutiones chimicae prodromae, id est ... Oedipus chimicus, obscuriorum terminorum & principiorum chimicorum, mysteria aperiens & resolvens. Opusculum, omnibus medicinae & chimiae studiosis lectu perquàm utile & necessarium.

Checkout now

first edition (?) becher’s oedipus chimicus, printed at about the same time as the frankfurt edition, and dedicated to franz le boë (sylvius), an early champion of descartes, van helmont and harvey. a professor at the universtiy of leiden, le boë founded the first academic chemical laboratory there in 1669.

Written the year before Becher was called to the Bavarian court by the Elector Ferdinand Maria (June 1664), this work deals with the fundamental question of the elements. ‘He had little respect for the four Aristotelian elements as they were commonly taught, and he felt that the efforts of Helmont and Boyle to show the elemental nature of water through the growth of vegetable substances were little better ... Similarly, he argued that observations show that the philosophical attributes of the Paracelsian triad have little in common with ordinary salt, sulfur, and mercury, so that they could not really be “principles.” He felt that on practical grounds – because of their familiarity – their use might be defended. Nevertheless, in the Oedipus chimicus (1664) Becher suggested that sulfur was analogous to earth, and salt to water, while earth and water, in more subtle form, were mercurial in nature ... [The book] rapidly became a standard text on elements, principles, and chemical processes’ (DSB).

Duveen, referring to various bibliographers, some of whom erroneously state the year 1665 for the Amsterdam printing, discusses priority between the Frankfurt and the Amsterdam printings at some length and concludes: ‘it may be supposed that the Frankfurt edition is the original and the Amsterdam edition a reimpression “à la sphere.”’ Most bibliographies list the Amsterdam edition as the first.

The engraved plate depicts an alchemical medal commemorating a divina metamorphosis that took place before Emperor Ferdinand III at Prague, on January 15, 1648.

Duveen p. 55; Ferguson I, p. 87; Krivatsy 982; Wellcome II, p. 125.

S957

You may also be interested in...

CHANDLER’S TRAVELS IN GREECE: ‘THE ACCOUNT OF ATHENS IS VERY IMPORTANT; IT WAS THE MOST DETAILED CHANDLER, Richard.

Travels in Greece: or an Account of a Tour made at the Expense of the Society of Dilettanti.

First edition. The classical scholar, traveller, and author Chandler (bap. 1737, d. 1810) was educated at Winchester College and Queen’s College, Oxford, and awarded a demyship at Magdalen College in 1757. Following the publication of an annotated collection of fragments by Tyrtaeus, Simonides, Theognis, Alcaeus, Sappho, and other Greek poets in 1759, Chandler published a catalogue of the Arundel marbles in 1763 as Marmora Oxoniensis. ‘In 1764 Chandler was introduced to the Society of Dilettanti by Robert Wood, editor of The Ruins of Palmyra, and was commissioned by the society to undertake a tour of exploration in Asia Minor and Greece in the first independent mission funded by the society. As treasurer he was given command of the expedition, and was accompanied by Nicholas Revett [...] and by the watercolour painter William Edmund Pars. They were instructed to make Smyrna their headquarters and thence “to make excursions to the several remains of antiquity in that neighbourhood”; to make exact plans and measurements; to make “accurate drawings of the bas-reliefs and ornaments”; and to copy all inscriptions, all the while keeping “minute diaries”. Having embarked from Gravesend on 9 June 1764 the party spent about a year in Asia Minor [...]. On 20 August 1765 they left Smyrna for Athens, where Chandler gloomily noted that the Parthenon was in danger of being completely destroyed. He bought two fragments of the Parthenon frieze that had been built into houses in the town and was presented with a trunk that had fallen from one of the metopes and lay neglected in a garden. Although the party visited other parts of the Greek mainland their plans to visit Ithaca, Cephallonia, and Corfu were abandoned, principally because of the group's poor health’ (ODNB).

Read more

CHRISTENING (The).

A satirical Poem. In which are contain’d the humorous Transactions, Speeches, and Behaviour of the Guests who were present at the Ceremony and Entertainment …

First edition of an amusing verse satire on a famous court scandal. In 1732 Anne Vane, mistress of Frederick, Prince of Wales, gave birth to a son. The child, Cornwall Fitz-Frederick, was acknowledged as his, perhaps only as an assertion of his independence from his parents, and paternity was contested by Lords Hervey and Harrington, both of whom had apparently shared Vane’s bed. Ridicule from the press followed, with comic prints and several verse and prose satires – including several depicted on the bookshelf in the frontispiece.

Read more