Roger Gaskell Rare Books

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A LITTLE KNOWN ALCHEMICAL TREATISE. ONLY EDITION.

WITESTEIN or WITTESTEIN, Karl

Caroli Witestein ... disceptatio philosophica de quinta chymicorum essentia . Accessit Alexandri Carerii Patavini quaestio an metalla artis beneficio permutari possint

Basle: per Sebastianum Henricpetri [undated], 1583
8vo: α8 A–O8, 120 leaves, pp. [16] 224. Roman letter, woodcut printer's device on title and verso of last leaf, woodcut initials.
Condition: 158 x 102mm. Paper browned, more heavily in some gatherings, waterstained.
Binding: Contemporary limp vellum, guards from an early vellum MS. Ties lacking, small wormhole in spine.
Provenance: Initials ‘CM’ and signature ‘D. Lardilliere’ on title and the signature repeated on verso of last leaf with date 1583.
First edition.
Bibliography: Adams W223; Ferguson II, p. 554; Duveeen p. 623; Neu 4395.
£3,000

A rare alchemical treatise by a somewhat obscure physician from Piacenza who became physician to Margareta of Austria. He is known for the present book, printed in Basle, and his Vera totius medicinae forma printed by Plantin at Antwerp in 1588. The appended dissertation by Alexander Carerius was first published at Padua in 1574, and again at Basle in 1582 (see Ferguson).
The work is undated but ascribed to 1583 by most authorities; the present copy is interesting for containing a dated signature, apparently French, corroborating this.
OCLC locates 8 copies in the UK and continental Europe, but only Wisconsin and Yale in North America.
Keywords:     alchemy