Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum, Containing severall poeticall pieces of our famous English Philosopphers, who have written the Hermetique Mysteries in their owne [Ancient Language]. Faithfully Collected into one Volume, with Annotations thereon.
Seattle, WA: Ouroboros Press, 2011 [ 2012 ]. First Edition Thus. Hardcover. Thick Octavo, 6 x 9 inches. xl + 524pages. Very attractively bound in full vellum with gilt titling on deep red leather spine label, two ribbon ties at fore-edges with matching silk bookmark, marbled endpapers, index. This deluxe vellum edition was supposed to be limite to 35 numbered copies but this copy is un-numbered. Title page in red and black ink. Illustrated with alchemical engravings, ornamental grotesques, dragons, trees, and fleurons. Includes an 11 x 14 folding plate titled; George Ripley’s Wheel. From the publisher: "This new complete edition of the Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum goes beyond the mere reprinting of the original pages as past facsimiles have done. Using the original errata sheets provided by Ashmole, the entire text has been corrected and reset in a more readable typeface and features clear reproductions of the original engravings produced by Robert Vaughan. In addition, this edition features a more complete version of the Breviary of Natrurall Philosophy by Thomas Charnock by employing a complete manuscript of the text not available to Ashmole in 1652." One of the best known seventeenth century alchemical works, Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum is a collection of English language metaphysical verse, much of which is composed to convey the essence of the alchemical arts by allegory. It's compiler, Elias Ashmole (1617 - 1692), the great English antiquary, statesman, astrologer and student of alchemy in English, preserved in its pages many precious works that were then only known in manuscript, including works attributed to William Backhouse, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Dee, Edward Kelly, Thomas Norton, et al. Gardner describes the book as: "A most important collection of Alchemical tracts, including Thos. Norton's Ordinall of Alchemy, G. Ripley's Compound of Alchemie, Dr. John Dee's Testament, etc., etc., it is embellished with several very finely engraved plates and cuts of a mystical character, engraved by Vaughan, also a table at page 118 which is frequently missing, it states that this figure conteynes all the secrets of the treatise both great and small. In the preface he complains of the scant honour the Fratres of the R.C. receive at the hands of their countrymen, instancing the cures done to the Earl of Norfolk of leprosie, and Queen Elizabeth twice of the small pox by two of the Fratres. He then goes on to compare the warm reception they receive at the hands of Foreigners, instancing Maierus, Combachius, Faber, etc. This is one of the most important works we possess in the English language on this subject. Ashmole obtained his Hermetic knowledge of the Philosopher's Stone from Mr. William Backhouse of Swallowfield, Berks. ..." (Bibliotheca Rosicruciana, 64: pp 10-11). Out-of-Print. Some very faint natural imperfections to vellum (as common), but otherwise appears unused thus in about Fine condition. (No dust jacket issue). Quite scarce due to the small limitation. Item #69876