THE FIRST RECIPE FOR VERMOUTH

nunc primum edita jussu Augustissimi Regis.

Turin, Jean-Baptiste Chais, 1736.

4to, pp. [viii], 246, [16], with 2 large folding plates; woodcut printer’s device and two engraved woodcut initials with architectural scenes; first and last leaves lightly browned, tear restored with no loss to second plate; a very good, crisp copy, bound in contemporary full vellum, rubbed at corners, joints strengthened.

£1800

Approximately:
US $2482€2125

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First edition of this Turin pharmacopoeia, prepared by doctors at the city’s medical college at the order of Charles Emmanuel III, Duke of Savoy. Its first section comprises a list of all substances generally used in the preparation of medicines, with synonyms and notes to aid the user in distinguishing between plants which look similar, which the authors ‘deemed extremely useful for younger apothecaries’.

The second section contains recipes for simple and compound medicines, including potions, infusions, decoctions, syrups, powders, lozenges, tablets, spirits, salts, tinctures, precipitates, oils, ointments and plasters. Some of these, the authors claim, ‘depart somewhat from the common method of preparation’.

It notably features the first appearance of the recipe for vinum absinthites (wormwood wine), which in 1786 formed the basis of Antonio Benedetto Carpano’s first commercial recipe for Vermouth. In the seventeenth century wormwood was considered an effective remedy for treating the plague.

The pharmacopoea does not detail which ailments ought to be treated with which concoction, only the method and equipment for preparing them and the precise quantities of ingredients required. The two large folding plates by Giuseppe Bartolomeo Tasniere show alembics for distillation, one of spiritus sulphuris (the acid spirit obtained from sulphur), the other of spiritus vini alcoholisatus (absolute alcohol), with different parts of the apparatus labelled. The second of these in particular is rarely found intact.

Wellcome, 14301925.

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