30 April 2008
WEBSTER, John (1610-1682). Metallographia: or a History of Metals. London: A[ndrew] C[larke] for Walter Kettilby, 1671.
4° (189 x 140mm). (Bb3 with clean tear into text, final leaves wormed at margin.) Contemporary calf (rubbed, upper joints splitting, spine label chipped, slightly bowed).
FIRST EDITION, variant imprint, of Webster's 'major scientific achievement'. His book 'contained references to a huge volume of alchemical, chemical, and mineralogical literature', and had the professed aim 'of stimulating metallurgical knowledge and the exploitation of mines in England. The work, however, deals with a wide range of topics, including a vindication of the ancient origins of alchemical knowledge, the generation of metals, their use in medicine and their transmutation. Helmontian chemical views are strictly linked with the corpuscular theory of matter, which is mainly based on the works of Robert Boyle' (Antonio Clericuzio in ODNB). Ferguson 531; Hoover 867; Wing W-1231A.
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