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 $3400€3026

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...

ARTHUR YOUNG’S COPY, WITH GRASS SAMPLES AMOS, William.

Minutes in Agriculture and Planting … Illustrated with Specimens of eight Sorts of the best, and two Sorts of the worst natural Grasses, and with accurate Drawings and Descriptions … on seven Copper Plates …

First edition, rare. William Amos was the steward of the Brothertoft estate of the ‘father of reform’ John Cartwright, and author of an earlier work on The Theory and Practice of Drill Husbandry (1794). Here he provides descriptions, and samples, of both ‘artificial’ and ‘natural’ grasses, with advice on their appropriateness for pasture, herbage or hay – couch grass and meadow soft grass being the ‘worst’ sorts mentioned in the title. There follow detailed descriptions, with diagrams, of several items of agricultural machinery, from the ‘sward-dresser’, used to scarify meadow land, and the ‘thistle-cutter’, to a rather extraordinary tree-transplanter, for the replanting of grown trees ‘into bare fields, parks, or about new buildings; or into any other places where they would imitate most that charming negligence of nature, which is so ravishing to the senses … In new designs, and about new built houses, these cannot always be got, without much labour and expense, or waiting for many years’.

Read more

A POET ON THE BATTLEFIELD CHAMBERLAYNE, William.

Phraronnida: a heroick Poem …

First edition of the physician-poet William Chamberlayne’s best-known work, a long poem (14,000 lines) in heroic couplets blending Ariosto, Tasso and Greek romances. It deals with the tale of Argalia, a sort of knight errant rescued from the Turks and threatened with execution, and his love for Pharonnida, the king’s daughter; a triangle is provided by the seductive and voluptuous Jhonusa and her overwhelming passion for Argalia.

Read more