30 April 2008
PORTA, Giambattista della (1535?-1615). Natural Magick ... in twenty books. London: Thomas Young and Samuel Speed, 1658.
2° (274 x 176mm). Engraved additional title by R. Gaywood. Tite in red and black. Woodcut illustrations. (Additional title with 40cm. internal tear and soiled margins, AA3 holed with loss to six lines recto and verso, some spotting, marginal waterstaining, short marginal tears.) 18th-century mottled calf (joints cracked, chips to lower cover and spine cap). Provenance: Francis Ferrand Foljambe (initials on spine).
FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH of Porta's Magiae naturalis libri viginti, originially published in 1558. This translation follows the expanded edition of 1589. In the additional title a portrait of the author is combined with emblems of generation and transmutation. A compendium of 16th-century science and pseudo-science, his work embraces agriculture, 'changing metals', 'couterfeiting precious stones', the Loadstone, medical remedies, cosmetics, distillation, perfume, 'tempering steel', 'cookery', 'invisible writing', and most importantly 'Burning-glasses' or optics. Norman 1726; Thorndike VI 418; Wing P-2982.
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