ANDREAS LIBAVIUS (1550-1616)
D.O.M.A. Alchymia recognita, emendata, et aucta. Frankfurt: Joannes Saurius for Peter Kopff, 1506 [i.e. 1606]. [Bound with:] Syntagma selectorum undiquaque et perspicue traditorum alchymiae arcanorum. Frankfurt: Nicolaus Hoffmann for Peter Kopff, 1611. [Bound with:] Syntagmatis arcanorum chymicorum... tomus secundus. Frankfurt: Nicolaus Hoffmann for Peter Kopff, 1613. [Bound with:] Appendix necessaria syntagmatis arcanorum chymicorum. Frankfurt: Nicolaus Hoffmann for Peter Kopff, 1615. [And:] D.O.M.A. Examen Philosophiae. Frankfurt: Peter Kopff, 1615. 5 works in 2 volumes, 2° (338 x 208mm). First titles of first 3 works within engraved borders, woodcut devices on some other titles and woodcut illustrations in text, third work with letterpresss plate at Cc3, woodcut initials and head- and-tail pieces. (Occasional browning, light staining, light soiling and small rust holes.) Contemporary vellum, manuscript titles on spines, green silk ties (lightly soiled, small tear at foot of upper cover of volume I, most ties missing). Provenance: Colloredo (ink stamp on first title).
A RARE COLLECTION OF FIVE WORKS BY LIBAVIUS. Libavius was a physician and logician, and in his prolific writings he sought to separate out the occult and mystical aspects of ‘alchemy’ (modern chemistry) and reclaim it as a proper scientific discipline in its own right, but without rejecting alchemical processes such as the transmutation of metals. Much of his work was polemical, as he fully entered into the scientific debates and controversies of his time. This is the second enlarged edition of Alchymia (first published in 1597) which ‘is considered the greatest and most beautiful (because of the numerous illustrations) of all books on chemistry in the seventeenth century... Libavius can be ranked as a first-rate chemist on the basis of those parts of the book that can be considered truly chemical’ (DSB VIII, p.310-311). The illustrations depict various pieces of chemical apparatus from vessels to furnaces, as well as a chemical laboratory. Ferguson ii, 31 & 33; VD17 39:125360T, 39:125409C, 39:125443H, 39:125448W; Alchymia: Duveen p.357; Appendix: Mellon 71.