ALCHEMY AND GEOMETRY. A compendium of works on geometry and (chiefly) alchemy, entitled in an early hand 'Marlyne The Channon of Bridlington and other workes without name', manuscript on paper, England, in a number of mid/late 16th Century hands, 94 leaves, folio (275 x 190mm), mid 16th-century English binding, probably London, blindtooled calf over pasteboard pannelled with a floral roll. Provenance: an early reader has carefully annotated and emended the Ripley text; James Donaldson, ?early 17th C (signatures to titles); the name 'Petri Johanni Fabri medici Monspeliensis' [i.e. the French alchemist Pierre-Jean Fabre (1590-1650)] has been written a number of times on the titles, sometimes in mirror-writing; Thomas Tillison, Thomas Allen and Richard Allen (signatures on back pastedown and free endpaper); Sotheby's sale, 24 July 1995, lot 515.
ff.1-21 'An Instruction of the pryncypall and most necessary poyntes of gematrie ... necessary to all those that intende to have eny understandyng of the mathematycall science to measure and to make by proporcyon and measure all man[ner] of bodys bothe round square and flatte or of what forme or fashon so eny wold make. Also to edyfye howses bothe pleasaunte and stattely or to fortyfy fortreses', illustrated with 23 precisely-drawn figures, in a neat, heavy mid-16th Century hand;
ff.24v-56 George RIPLEY (d.c.1490). 'The Compound of Alchymy', with (ff.57-59) a related 'Practica', concluding with an illustration of various alembics, in a single late-16th Century secretary hand;
ff.61-94 At least twelve other brief alchemical texts in English or Latin verse and prose, in various late-16th Century hands, including (ff.65-74) 'A conclusion to make the stone of philosophie, a verse treatise in English, and (ff.78-80) the pseudo-Aquinas 'Tractatus in arte Alchemiae'
George Ripley, alchemist and canon at the Augustinian priory of Bridlington, dedicated the Compound of Alchymy to Edward IV in 1471; he was 'the author and practitioner who contributed most to the revival of the craft of alchemy in late fifteenth-century England' (ODNB), and his works were widely copied over the following 150 years.