Catalogue Entry: ALCH00063

Twelve small bundles of alchemical notes and extracts from a very wide range of sources.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Ms. Var. 259, National Library of Israel, Jerusalem, Israel

[Normalized Text (at Chymistry of Isaac Newton)]

Custodial History

Bought at the Sotheby sale by Gabriel Wells for £70. Yahuda asked for it on 1 and 12 August 1936 but presumably unsuccessfully. What happened in the meantime is not clear, but it was presented to the Jewish National and University Library a little after December 1958 by Dr Sidney M. Edelstein (an American chemical manufacturer).

Sotheby Lot

SL35

Contents

1 'Le Procede Vniverselle [sic] pour faire la Pierre Philosophiale laquelle l'auteur dit davoir faict quatre fois' [by Johannes Rhenanus?], in French, incomplete, c. 1,500 words, 6 pp.

2 'Artephij antiquissimi Philosophi de arte occulta & lap. Philos. Liber secretus', in Latin, c. 3,500 words, 8 pp. See H1309-10.

3 'The Hyeroglyphicall figures of Nicholas Flammel explained, anno 1399', in English, with a pen-and-ink drawing of some of the hieroglyphs, c. 3,000 words, 7 pp.

4 'Novum Lumen Chymicum Sendivogij. Divi Leschi genus amo [anagram of 'Michael Sendivogius']', in Latin, c. 4,000 words, 8 pp. See H445 and 1485.

5 'Enchiridion Physicæ Ioh. Spagneti. Spes mea est in Agno [defective anagram of 'Ioannes Spagnetus', i.e. Jean d'Espagnet]', though apart from two thirds of the first page, most of this section consists of notes on d'Espagnet's Arcanum hermeticæ philosophiæ opus, which was published together with the Enchiridion (1623), in Latin, c. 3,500 words, 8 pp.

6 A bundle of English notes and extracts: 'Nortons Ordinall', 'Dastins dreame', 'The black monkes Earth of Earth', 'The hunting of ye Green Lyon', 'Riplys Epistle to K. Edward ye 4th', 'Riplys 12 Gates', c. 4,000 words in all, 8 pp. [These are all based on Elias Ashmole's Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum (1652: H93): the 'Epistle' and 'Twelve Gates' are sub-sections of Ripley's 'Compound of Alchemie' (107-93), and 'Pearce the Black Monke upon the Elixir' (269-74) begins 'Take Erth of Erth, Erth's Moder'.]

7 'Ex Augurelli Chrysopœia', in Latin, 2 pp., followed by 'The Marrow of Alchymy' [by 'Eirenæus Philalethes': see H1034], in English, 6 pp.; in all c. 3,000 words.

8 A bundle of Latin notes and extracts: 'Riplæi Tractatus tertius', notes on the Tabula Smaragdina, 'Ex Authore Anonymo De Tincturis', 'Praxis fæmina'; in all c. 1,800 words, 5 pp.

9 A bundle of Latin notes and extracts: 'Observanda', 'Instructio de Arbori solari', 'Lucerna Salis Philosophorum'; in all c. 1,500 words, 12 pp.

10 'Commentatio de Pharmaco Catholico per Iohn de Monte Snyder Latinitate donata per Authorem Chymicæ Vannus', in Latin, c. 5,000 words, 13 pp. See H1378.

11 'F[ather] B. Valentine's 12 Keys', 2 pp., followed by 'References to B Valentines works', 11 pp., in English; in all c. 5,000 words. See H127-130, esp. 128.

12 Miscellaneous notes in Latin, c. 4,000 words, 8 pp.

Notes

Bundle 1 is attributed to 'Jodocus a Rhe', i.e. Johannes Rhenanus, in the Sotheby catalogue, but the ascription is queried (though not categorically rejected) by Figala and Petzold, 'Alchemy in the Newtonian circle', 177, n. 1.

The defective anagram of 'Ioannes Spagnetus' in bundle 5 is as it appears in the printed edition of the Enchiridion but is perhaps a printer's error for 'Spes una est in Agno', which works.

© 2017 The Newton Project

Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
Fellow & Perne librarian, Peterhouse, Cambridge

Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL - newtonproject@history.ox.ac.uk

Privacy Statement

  • University of Oxford
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • JISC