ALBERTUS MAGNUS. Le grant albert des secretz des vertus des herbes, pierres & bestes. Et aultre liure des merveilles du monde daulcuns effectz causez daulcunes bestes. "Turin Bernard du mont du Chat." N.d. [c. 1530].
Chancery 8vo, 136 x 86mm. (5 3/8 x 3 3/8in.), eighteenth-century French red morocco, covers with triple gilt fillet borders, spine in six compartments, gilt-lettered in one, a repeated panel of small gilt curled tools in the rest, g.e., extremities rubbed, browned throughout, lower outer blank corners of first four leaves frayed.
Collation: A-I . 36 unfoliated leaves. Bâtarde type 84mm. 28 lines. Woodcut portrait on title. 9 white-on-black ornamental initials.
The grant Albert is a French version of a text known as Secreta or Experimenta Alberti, a treatise on the magical properties of herbs, stones, and animals, to which other short treatises on magic and marvels were often added, as here. From the fourteenth century the work was attributed to Albertus Magnus, but it was certainly put together of materials from various sources, including Albertus' De mineralibus, which provided much of the material for the second book, on stones. Versions of the text survive in manuscripts of the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries and in printed editions of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. (L. Thorndike, A History of Magic and Experimental Science, vol. 2; and in Speculum, vol. 30, 1955). GW 617-665 lists almost fifty fifteenth-century editions in Latin, French, Italian, and Catalan, many issued under the title Liber aggregationis. The French text printed here includes, as usual, the three books of the Secreta Alberti, into which have been interpolated a treatise on seven herbs and seven planets, often attributed to Alexander the Great, and two passages citing Isidore of Seville. There follows a table of stars and planets and a French version of the treatise De mirabilibus mundi, also attributed to Albertus Magnus, which discusses the causes of magic and gives instructions for accomplishing various marvels and illusions. The final section, attributed to Pliny "le docteur naturel", seems to be present only in the French-language tradition of the collection (cf. GW 667). Both Latin and French editions of this set of texts were printed in Rouen in the sixteenth century. Le cinquecentine piemontesi lists three sixteenth-century editions with Turin imprints, two in Italian and this one in French, with the suggestion that this is a false imprint.
Brunet I, 139 ("fort rare", citing this copy; also noting the La Vallière copy, plus one more bound with two other works); Le cinquecentini piemontesi, vol. 1: Torino (Turin 1961), no. 11.
Provenance: Charles Nodier, booklabel (cat. no. 128); Robert Hoe, booklabel (sale, Anderson, 11 November 1912, lot 18); Juan Carlos Ahumada, ink stamp at front; the present owner.