Copenhagen: Sumptibus Petri Hauboldi, Reg. Acad. Bibl. 1674. First (only) edition, one of the few copies having the folding plate illustrating three types of retorts, as well as the four-page dedication to Jean Baptiste Colbert. Borrichius’s book contains valuable information on the early history of alchemy.
First edition, and “one of the few copies having the folding plate illustrating three types of retorts, as well as the four-page dedication to Jean Baptiste Colbert. According to the Wellcome Library catalogue, ‘this plate is a copy from a MS. Of Zosimus (ca. 500 A.D.) of the earliest known illustration of distilling apparatus.’ In this work Borrichius answers Hermann Conring’s De Hermetica Aegyptiorum Medicina (Helmstedt, 1648), wherein the extreme antiquity attributed to alchemy had been seriously doubted. Borrichius’s book contains valuable information on the early history of alchemy. The substantial final portion supports Paracelsian theory as applied to medicine. No other editions except this one of 1674 exist. Although several works by Borrichius were reprinted in Magnet’s Bibliotheca Chemica Curiosa (Geneva, 1702), this was not among them.
“Ferguson states that there ‘were apparently two issues of this book, for I have seen other copies without the dedication and the plate.’ Duveen confirms this, his copy being without the plate and dedication. The Wellcome Library catalogue states that this is the second issue, although on what authority I do not know. This issue is very rare.” (The Roy G. Neville Historical Chemical Library).
Small 4to (197 x 147 mm), contemporary vellum, pp. [xii], 448 [8:index] and folding engraved plate facing p. 156, light uniform browning throughout, in all avery good copy in its original state.