Catalogue Entry: ALCH00107

Transcript of Johann de Monte Snyders' The Metamorphosis of the Planets, with notes.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Cushing/Whitney Medical Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Custodial History

Bought at the Sotheby sale by the London dealer E.P. Goldschmidt for £52.

Sotheby Lot



Title reads in full: 'The Metamorphosis of the Planets, That is A wonderfull Transmutation of the Planets and Metalliq[ue] formes into their first Essence, (with an annexed Process,) being a discovery of the three Keys pertinent to the obteining of ye three Principles. Likewise in what manner the most generall universall is to be obteined is in many places of this treatise described by Iohn de Monte Snyders'.

A complete transcript of the book (an elaborate alchemical allegory) in Newton's hand (c. 22,000 words on 62 pp. plus title page and a hand-drawn frontispiece showing Jupiter (personified as a bearded man) enthroned on an orb with the sun and moon in his hands). Also 3 pp. of notes 'On ye Metamorphosis of ye Planets' and a further 2 pp. of 'Notes on ye Metamorphosis of ye Planets', c. 1,500 words.

Cf. Keynes Ms. 58 and the notes on Snyders in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University, and see Brewster (1855), 2: 371 and Dobbs, Foundations, 168-9, esp. n. 87. The work had been published in 1663 (second ed. 1700), but only in German, which Newton did not understand (he says so himself in MINT00206 (II.180-81)). Presumably this translation was copied from a manuscript (or, just possibly, translated by Newton from a Latin or French manuscript translation). See also H1378 for Newton's copy of Snyders' Commentatio de pharmaco catholico.

© 2020 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 -

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