BLACK, Joseph. [Lectures on Chemistry, ?Edinburgh: ?ca. 1771-1797.] 6 volumes comprising 118 lectures, 4°, written on rectos only, with occasional notes and diagrams on the versos, in various hands, 30 pen and ink diagrams and illustrations, 4 coloured, 4 tables, a 13-page, stitched pamphlet headed "IV. Metals (page 391, vol. 4)" and 3 folded sheets of notes on chemistry, both in contemporary hands, loosely inserted (occasional slight marking, short tears on a few leaves, minor worming in early gatherings of vol. II), contemporary calf-backed boards, spines gilt in compartments, contrasting morocco lettering-pieces (lightly rubbed and scuffed, partial cracking on some joints; Paul Panton (?the Welsh antiquary and manuscript collector, 1731-1797), inscriptions on front free endpapers; volume I with long note about Black on front free endpaper and clipped advertisement for the 1803 Edinburgh edition of Black's Lectures pasted on upper pastedown.
A CONTEMPORARY MANUSCRIPT COPY OF BLACK'S CELEBRATED LECTURES. Joseph Black was appointed to the chair of chemistry and anatomy in the University of Glasgow in 1756, having studied there and at the University of Edinburgh, where he was appointed to the chair of chemistry in 1766. Although Black did much important work on latent heat, which "not only formed the basis of modern thermal science, but gave the first impulse to Watt's improvements in the steam engine" (DNB II, p. 572), his only substantial work published in his lifetime was a paper on magnesia alba and quicklime, published in the Philosophical Society of Edinburgh's Essays and Observations in 1756. Black's Lectures on the Elements of Chemistry (Edinburgh, 1803), were edited by John Robinson, who noted in his preface that Black's personal notes were in such disarray, that he "had the assistance of a very fair copy of notes, taken by a student, or rather manufactured by the comparison of many such notes. Copies of this kind were to be purchased for four or five guineas". The present manuscript post-dates the publication in 1771 of P. J. MacQuer's Dictionary of Chemistry, which is referred to on page 23 in volume I. Other similar manuscripts of Black's Lectures are George Cayley's at the York Medical Society (1785-1786) and the UCL copy (?ca. 1785-1786), and comparison with the excerpts from these reprinted by D. McKie in "On Some Ms. copies of Black's Chemical Lectures I[-V]" suggests that all are verbatim copies from one source, with only minor variations (Annals of Science I, p. 101; XV, p. 65; XVI, p. 1; XVIII, p. 87, and XXI, p. 209). This copy is not in Cole. (6)