Catalogue Entry: ALCH00047

Three apparently unrelated fragments (early-mid 1670s).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 58, King's College, Cambridge, UK

[Normalized Text (at Chymistry of Isaac Newton)]

Custodial History

Bought at the Sotheby sale by Heffers for £14.10s. and offered to Keynes on approval on 5 September 1936 for £19.10s. Heffers told Yahuda on 7 September that it was out on approval, and a week later that 'Our client is keeping this lot'.

Sotheby Lot



a) f. 1r Copy of a recipe for multiplying silver (by adding silver, antimony and lead to cinnabar).

b) ff. 2r-5r Notes on 'Aqua Sicca', 'Aquila Iovis' and 'Sceptrum Iovis', with repeatedly reworked recipes for preparing these substances, accompanied by annotations either in parallel columns or at the foot of the page.

c) ff. 6r-8v Notes and recipes derived from an unidentified source, with rough sketches of furnaces and calculations.

Section b) is analysed in detail by Dobbs (Foundations, 167-75), who regards it as 'of extraordinary importance for a study of his [Newton's] alchemical methodology' (ibid., 168), being Newton's attempt to elucidate the symbolism of John de Monte Snyders' The Metamorphosis of the Planets (see Newton's transcript of this text, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library, Yale University). See also the notes on Snyders in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University.

© 2022 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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