Le prototype ou tres-parfait et analogique exemplaire de l'art chimicq; a la phisique ou philosophie de la science naturelle. Contenant les causes principes & demonstrations scientifiq; de la certitude dudit art.
Item ID 69014
Paris, J. A. Joallin, 1620. Small 8vo (10.2 x 15.8 cm). Title page, [vii], 136, [xiv] pp. Contemporary mottled calf. Spine with gilt lines and floral vignettes. Red morocco label with gilt short-title. Marbled endpapers. Red edges. Extremely rare (al)chemical treatise by the French nobleman René de la Chastre (1581-after 1663). According to Caillet, it contains the fundamental principles of the "Grand oeuvre", or the process of working with base metals to create the philosopher's stone. The work has a surprisingly modern sounding title. However, "...The words in the title might make the modern reader think that this work is indeed an experimental chemical treatise leading to an overall philosophy of natural science, but this is not the case. La Chastre's text is a traditional alchemical description of nature's perfection of gold and how the operator might duplicate its process in his laboratory" (Debus). A detailed biography, handwritten on old, blue paper, is tipped-in in front. Additionally on the front pastedown: two old sales catalogue records, as well as a loosely inserted newspaper clipping dated 1933, stating that the work is rare. The first catalogue clipping may describe this copy. Some shelf wear to spine and boards, otherwise a very good, complete copy. No auction records can be traced; we could find only one copy that was on the market in 1963 with Goldschmidt, Catalogue 127, Medicine and Science. Caillet II, 5899; Debus, "The French Paracelsians: The chemical challenge to medical and scientific tradition in early modern France", p. 47. Extremely rare work on creating the Philosopher's Stone, by a French nobleman