Oct 12, 2023 - Sale 2648

Sale 2648 - Lot 121

Price Realized: $ 8,125
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 6,000 - $ 8,000
Ashmole, Elias, compiler (1617-1692)
Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum. Containing Severall Poeticall Pieces of our Famous English Philosophers, who have written the Hermetique Mysteries in their Owne Ancient Language.

London: Printed by J. Grismond for Nath: Brooke, 1652.

First edition, quarto, engraved vignette to title page, illustrated with thirteen text illustrations, several full page, mostly engraved; lacking the folding engraving of George Ripley's "The Compound of Alchimie," usually bound at page 116, and Rrr4: the "Courteous Reader thou art desired to rectifie" leaf; bound in full modern calf, period style, ex libris the Bibliotheque Nationale with red stamp on title and small stamps on most of the engravings; 7 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.

"Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum, compiled and edited by antiquary extraordinaire Elias Ashmole, is perhaps the seminal volume of English alchemical literature. Most significantly, it brings together a number of hermetic works previously only available in privately held manuscripts. [...] It was also Ashmole's intention to repair some of the damage done by the dissolution of monasteries during the 1530s, when many books were destroyed simply because they contained red letters or a mathematical diagram. These things alone were then considered 'sufficient,' as Ashmole writes in his preface, 'to intitle the Booke to be Popish or Diabolicall'." (Quoted from The Public Domain Review, https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/theatrum-chemicum/#p-0-2)

Wing A-3987; ESTC R205904; Wellcome II page 63; Honeyman I: 155; Ferguson page 52.