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Alchemy Research Notes archives - July 1998

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RESEARCH NOTES : Voarchadumia
From: Adam McLean
Date: 1st Jul 1998

Today, I discovered the meaning of the word 'Voarchadumia'

One of the most important of early 16th century alchemy books is
Giovanni Agostino Pantheo. Voarchadumia contra alchimiam, 1530.
Not being a classic scholar I could never understand the word.
But it appears that it is a compound and invented word meaning
'Gold of two perfect cementations', or 'Gold twice refined'
derived from a Chaldean word for "gold" and a Hebrew phrase
meaning "out of two rubies".

From: Adam McLean
Date: 2 July 1998

Yesterday I read an interesting article discussing an alchemical
structure which the writer sees in Shakespeare's play The Tempest.
She analyses the play as embodying a sequence of alchemical stages.

Peggy Munoz Simonds. "My charms crack not": The Alchemical
Structure of the Tempest.
Comparative Drama, Vol 31. Winter 1997-8. No.4.

From : Adam McLean
Date : 2 Jul 1998

Yesterday I came across this interesting and humourous story,
in a history of chemistry.

Giovanni Aurelius Augurello (1441-1524), one of the greatest classical
scholars of his day, wrote a long poem on alchemy entitled 'Vellus
Aureum et Chrysopoeia'. In 1515 he sent this to Pope Leo X with an
appropriate dedication and anticipated a handsome reward.

The Holy Father bestowed upon him a large empty purse, saying
that he who knows how to make gold for himself, has only need of a
purse in which to put it.

From : Adam McLean
Date : 2 Jul 1998

Today I came across this interesting observation by Albert Poisson
in his 'Theories et Symboles des Alchimistes', Paris, 1891.

"Open one of the venerable hermetic treatises of the fifteenth or
sixteenth century, and read it. If you have not made a special study
of the subject, if you are not already initiated into alchemical
terminology, if you have not a certain knowledge of inorganic
chemistry, you will soon close the volume, disappointed and

RESEARCH NOTES : Spanish books
From: Adam McLean
Date: 3 Jul 1998

Yesterday I received copies of five new volumes of alchemical
texts in Spanish from Ediciones Indigo, the press of Santiago Jubany.
Santiago Jubany must be the most prolific of modern publishers
on alchemy. Over the past few years he has issued, to my knowledge,
at least 14 alchemical books. His books are very well printed and
bound and most have a introduction by Santiago. He is certainly
leading and re-envigorating serious alchemical studies in Spanish.
I have set up page on my web site if people want to contact him.
It is such individual efforts to reconnect people with the original
alchemical texts that give me heart, and make me realise the
continuing relevance of alchemy. He has also been kind enough
to donate some of his transcriptions to the alchemy web site.

Conversacion del rey Calid y del filosofo Morien sobre el
magisterio de Hermes.

Egidius de Vadis. Dialogo de la naturaleza y el hijo de la filosofia

Filaleteo, Eugenius. El arte hermetico al descubierto.

Clave de la gran obra o cartas de Mr. Le Sancelrien Tourangeau.

Nicolas Flamel: el deseo deseado. Janus Lacinius Therapus:
Formula y metodo para perfeccionar los metales viles.

From: Adam McLean
Date: 3 Jul 1998

This morning I finished the inital proofreading of the translation I have
been transcribing of Monte-Snyder 'Metamorphosis of the Planets',
first issued at Amsterdam (in German) in 1663.
This is a truly excellent piece. An elaborate allegory of the various
stages of the alchemical process. I had initially thought that the
manuscript translation from which I have been working, made in the
late 17th century, was difficult and poor, but having worked on it for
the past few months, I am now of the opinion that it captures the
essence of the work quite well. There were a few words that
proved difficult to read. For example, one word I could barely
decipher seemed to be "throwpacd". Eventually I located this
in the OED as "thorough-paced" a term derived from the
training of horses and meaning "well-skilled". This word,
current in the late 17th century, was often used more generally,
so this is obviously the correct transcription, being entirely
compatible with the context. Such minutiae are part of the work
of restoring these old texts.

I hope to publish this later this year in the Magnum Opus series.
Now, having completed the outher work on preparing the text,
I must begin the inner task of trying to grasp the essence of the
process in order to write a commentary. This will be a task of
at least a few months.

Interestingly, at least one modern writer refers to this allegory
as barbarous and obscure. I am not so sure. I feel it makes
entire sense, and its meaning can be found in its internal

The work constantly refers to its emblematic frontispiece, which
thus gives many clues to the structure ot the work. A month
or so ago I hand-coloured this image, and you can see this
on my gallery of alchemical emblems on the web site.

RESEARCH NOTES : Fish hanging in laboratories
From: Adam McLean
Date: 4 Jul 1998

This afternoon while looking at the illustration of an alchemical
laboratory on the back cover of an early copy of Gnosis, I thought
about the dried fish that is hanging from the ceiling. This is a
painting by David Teniers, who often placed a dried fish,
or a stuffed crocodile hanging from the ceiling. This
image has become to many modern writers almost emblematic
of alchemical laboratories, but I cannot recall to my mind any other
engraving, or woodcut of an alchemical interior with a hanging fish
or crocodile.
I wonder if this might just be a mannerism or ideosyncratic device of
Teniers. I have, in the past, looked at some of his non-alchemical
paintings and I remember that he includes this device in other paintings.
So, it may be that this hanging crocodile or fish image derives entirely
from Teniers and is not a part of the alchemical tradition. Later,
engravers quote and reproduce this image, but I cannot recall
anything earlier that Teniers in the mid 17th Century. Breughel,
Stradanus, the Antwerp Pharmacopeia, and the many woodcuts
in the 16th century books of distillation do not use this in their
laboratory interiors.

I will try to find an art historical survey of Teniers' work and see
if any art historian has already researched this image.

RESEARCH NOTES : Cyliani's transmutation
From: Adam McLean
Date: 4 Jul 1998

Here is the transmutation account from Cyliani's 'Hermes dévoillé',
Paris, 1832.

"Having finished my work, I took one hundred grams of distilled
mercury and placed it in a crucible. As soon as it began to smoke,
I threw one gram of my transmutating sulphur on top. It turned into an
oil on top of the mercury and I saw this last successively coagulating
more and more. I then increased my fire and thus pursuing made it
stronger to the point that my mercury became perfectly fixed.
This took about an hour. Having poured it into a little ingot-mould,
I tested it and found it better than that of the mines.

"How great was my joy! I was carried away with rapture!
Like Pygmalion, I fell upon my knees in order to contemplate my
work and to thank the Eternal. I wept a torrent of tears! How sweet
they were. How my heart was relieved! It would be hard for me here
to describe everything I felt and the position in which I found myself.
A thousand thoughts came simultaneously before my mind. The first
would lead me to seek the chief citizen in order to confess my triumph;
another, that one day I would make enough gold to create various
foundations in the town that had given me birth. Another thought made
me want to see married as many young girls as there are sections
in Paris, giving a dowry to each one. Another idea impelled me to
find out the addresses of people poor and ashamed of their poverty
and to go in person to their homes to bring them help. In the end,
I began to fear that joy had cracked my wits. I experienced the need
to use violence on myself and to take a great deal of exercise by
walking in the country. I did this during eight consecutive days. Every
few hours I would take off my hat and raise my eyes to the sky to
thank heaven for having granted me such a blessing. The tears would
flow abundantly from my eyes. Finally, I managed to calm myself and
to realize how I would expose myself to danger if I undertook such
endeavors. After having reflected soberly, I came to the firm decision
that I would live unknown, without pomp, and restrain my ambition by
giving happiness in secret without letting myself be known as a benefactor."

RESEARCH NOTES : Spanish web site
From: Adam McLean
Date: 4th July 1998

This morning I received notice of a new web site in Spanish,
organised by a Templar group. This has two long pages on
alchemy in the writings of Jung and in the work of René Guénon.

RESEARCH NOTES : Painting alchemical illustrations
From: Adam McLean
Date: 4th July 1998

Most of yesterday I spent redrawing the first section of the
Ripley scroll. This is the part where the large figure of an
alchemist holds a flask containing a series of roundels.
The detail in these roundels is rather difficult to make out,
and so I spent today painting this section. The exercise of
painting an illlustration gives one new insight into the way in
which the images are structured, and the application of colour
serves to delineate certain aspects which are rather ambiguous.

I find this a useful exercise in getting to the root of an illustration.
In a sense one is repeating the work made by the alchemists
when they prepared copies of manuscript illustrations.

Making a facsimile of the whole scroll will take me many weeks,
but it is one of the ways I use to develop a deep encounter
with an alchemical work. Eventually I hope to be able to publish
a book on the Ripley Scroll, and this is one stage, one research
tool, in my process of working with the material.

RESEARCH NOTES : Fish hanging in laboratories
From: Stanislas Klossowski de Rola
Date: Sat, 4 Jul 1998

Teniers' use of the hanging fish can be interpreted esoterically
as the attainment of the Sulphur of the Wise, or Principle of Fixity
which like the legendary power of the remora was said to halt a
sailing ship in its tracks. The dried up fish therefore seems a proper
symbol for that essence of dryness called "Our Sulphur". The hanging
crocodile on one hand exoterically is part of the popular view of
alchemical laboratories as filled with oddities a kind of messy
"wunderkammer" if you will.
On the other hand, the crocodile is, like the dragon, a perfect symbol of
the Subject of the Wise. See for instance Goosen van Vreeswyk's
"De Goude Leeuw" Amsterdam 1676 plates 441-442 in "The Golden Game".

Stanislas Klossowski de Rola

RESEARCH NOTES : Alexander Seton
From: Adam McLean
Date: 6th Jul 1998

Today I have finally found the time to read a draft copy of an article by
Rafal Prinke on Sendovogius 'the Twelfth Adept', referring to his inclusion
in Maier's 'Symbola aurea mensae'. This article is based on Rafal's
workshop given in Prague at the alchemy conference last year, and hopefully
will be published in a spin off volume from the conference.

This article, in part, follows up the possibility that Sendivogius and Alexander Seton
may have become conflated and confused.

In order to continue his research into the enigma of Alexander Seton, Rafal
has asked me to help gather together all the early reference in printed
books to the Seton affair. Most of this is actually here in Glasgow in the
two collections of alchemy books, so hopefully within a few weeks I will
be able to make photocopies for Rafal of most of the original printed sources
for the Seton story.

Unfortunately the alchemical Alexander Seton cannot be the actual Alexander
Seton of Seton House near Edinburgh, as this historical Alexander Seton,
the first Earl of Dunfermline, was a major political figure in the closing decade
of the 16th century and in 1604 became Lord Chancellor of Scotland. His life is
well documented as a major figure in the Scottish political establishment,
and there is no space in his life's history for an extended stay on the continent
to perform transmutations!

Perhaps Rafal Prinke will get the the bottom of this mystery. Certainly we
wont get anywhere by empty speculation but only by the careful examination
of what evidence can be found.

RESEARCH NOTES : Ripley Scroll
From: Adam McLean
Date: 7th July 1998

On 4th July I posted a note about my work with the
Ripley Scroll. I have now completed the first section of the
Scroll and have scanned it in, pasted together the scans,
and placed it onto the web site. You can see it on my
gallery of alchemical images at

The original painting measures 780x300mm, and is quite
detailed, so the jpeg image is rather large at about 370KB.

Today I will try to find time to begin redrawing the second section,
the section with the heptangular and square vessels, and perhaps
begin the painting later this week.

RESEARCH NOTES : Rose Cross over the Baltic
From: Adam McLean
Date: 7th July 1998

I noticed that a new book by Susanna Akerman
'Rose Cross over the Baltic: The Spread of Rosicrucianism
in Northern Europe' has been issued by Brill in June.
Susanna's earlier book Queen Christiana and her circle was
excellent so I expect this new title will be full of some
interesting research.

You can get it through Barnes and Noble, or order it through your
bookshop. It is published by E.J. Brill, the academic publishers in
Leiden. ISBN 9004110305. It is expensive around $85 or £40 I think.

RESEARCH NOTES: French works requiring translation
From: Adam McLean
Date: 9th July 1998

This morning I had a quick scan through my database of alchemical
books trying to identify key works in French which really need to
be translated into English. I came up with this short list of candidates.

ALLIETTE [Etteilla].
Les sept nuances de l'oeuvre philosophique-hermétique, suivies d'un traité sur la perfection des métaux, mis sous l'avant-titre L.D.D.P. [1785]

Giovanni Aurelio AUGURELLO.
Chrysopoeiae libri III, Venice 1515.

Abrege de l'astronomie inferieure des sept metaux... Avec un essay de l'astronomie naturele superieure... 1644

Louis Paul François CAMBRIEL [1774-1850].
Cours de philosophie hermétique ou d'alchimie en dix neuf leçons, traitant de la théorie... de cette science... suivies... de trois additions prouvant trois vies en l'homme... Ouvrage fini en janvier 1829. 1843

Sabine Stuart de CHEVALIER.
Discours philosophique sur les trois principes, Animal, Végétal et Minéral. Ou la clef du sanctuaire philosophique. 1781

Escalier des sages, ou la philosophie des anciens. Conceü & mis en lumierre par un amateur de la verite qui a pour l'anagramme de son nom: Rediens nunc ere pulchra fides. Le partie.

Henri de LINTHAUT.

Clef du grand oeuvre, ou lettres de Sancelrien Tourangeau a madame L.D.L.B***. T.D.F. A.T.; dans la i-re sera enseignée où trouver la matière des sages; dans la 2-de, les vertus et merveilles de l'Elixir blanc et rouge, sur les trois Regnes de la Nature; dans la 3-e, adressée à mon frère (prêtre, sous-doyen en dignité d'une noble et insigne Eglise), sera prouvé la réalité du Grand Oeuvre par tout ce qu'il y a de plus positif dans l"Histoire sacrée et profane, qu'il a été et sera toujours le fondement, ainsi que le premiere mobile de toutes les Religions du monde... 1777

Jacobus TOLL.
Le chemin du ciel chymique. [1688?]

RESEARCH NOTES : Roerich forum
From: Adam McLean
Date: 9th July 1998

A colleague recently informed me about a new publication, the
'Roerich-Forum', which had some material of relevance
to alchemy

It is published in English by the

Roerich Society of Germany
Mrs. Angela Frémont
Buchenweg 12
D-72359 Pfronstetten, Germany

So far there have been eight issues.
Some of the titles of articles relevant to alchemy are:

Nicholaus Roerich, the legends of the stone, and alchemy (Nos. 3, 4)
Alchemy and the art of healing (No. 5)
The five Platonic bodies (No. 6)

The ROERICH-FORUM is also published in German.
The German edition so far has twelve issues.
The English and German editions do not contain the same articles.

RESEARCH NOTES : Follies of interpretation
From: Adam McLean
Date: 10th July 1998

Today I looked at an interesting book in French by a Scottish woman
alchemist of the 18th century Sabine Stuart de Chevalier, the
'Discours philosophique sur le trois principles, animal, vegetal
et mineral...' Paris, 1781.

This is best known for its two symbolic engravings. One of these
I have hand coloured and placed onto the web site

In this engraving a monk is shown holding a handerchief to his face.

It is interesting to read the comments on this engraving by Johannes
Fabricius in his 'Alchemy: The Medieval alchemists and their
Royal Art. Fabricius, a Freudian, attempts in this book to give a
Freudian spin to alchemical symbolism, probably to work against
the Jungians hold on this material. However, Fabricius seems not to
be concerned over much with doing justice to the original
intentions of the alchemist who wrote the book and designed
the emblems. Fabricius entitles this emblem in his book the
"Royal split wedding of a Benedictine Monk, his head
engaged at the vulva". In his accompanying text he relates this
image to the second Key of Basil Valentine, through there is little
obvious connection. Concerning the monk with the handerchief,
he states, "the monk's second, uncrowned self appears just
behind him as a crying, frustrated figure".

This is rather strange, as the author of this emblem has kindly
provided us with a four page explication of the figure. In
this she states regarding the monk with the handkerchief,

"One sees another Benedictine monk with a handkerchief in
his hand, crying for the loss of a brother monk (that is to say of
Basile Valentine) which, by his piety and his science, was an
ornament of his order."

Fabricius obviously didn't think it necessary to read the book
out of which this engraving was taken, so he makes a further
error in describing the garden in the background as 'the
philosophers' rose-garden and the tree of life', whereas Sabine
Stuart de Chevalier clearly wants us to see this as the Garden of the
Hesperides with the tree of the golden apples.

The demonstrates so clearly to us that we must not immediately
project onto alchemical images our own interpretation and
preconceptions, but try instead to see these in the context out
of which they emerge. It shows that the value of true research
lies in going to the original source material, and not in foolishly
jumping to unsubstantiated and misleading interpretations.

RESEARCH NOTES : Music and hermetic ideas
From: Adam McLean
Date: 14th July 1998

Today I discovered this thesis on the UMI Dissertations search engine.
Photocopies of this can be ordered from UMI. Around $50 I think.




279 pp. Advisor: MONSON, CRAIG

RESEARCH NOTES : Italian thesis on Atalanta fugiens
From: Adam McLean
Date: 17th July 1998

Today I received from the author a copy of his thesis on the Atalanta fugiens
undertaken at the University of Bologna in 1996-97

Nico Canzoniero. L.Atalanta fugiens (1617) di Michael Maier.
Tesi di Laurea in Filosofia della Musica. Universita degli Studi di Bologna.

This serves to remind us that there are quite a few such theses containing
important new research into alchemical matters. Few of these are ever
published, so it is important that I try to accumulate and gather copies of these
theses for the alchemy research library here in Glasgow.

Last week I found a theses written at the University of Hawaii some years ago

Panisnick, George David.
The Philosophical Significance of the Concept of the Philosopher's Stone
as used in the Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus.

There are important pieces of research available in such theses, which
are regrettably hard to find. Many USA theses are available through
University Microfilms International Dissertations express who have
a web site at

Anyone with information on theses on alchemical matters, or who might
be able to donate a copy of a thesis to the alchemy research library,
please get in touch with me.

RESEARCH NOTES : Ars quatuor coronatorum
From: Adam McLean
Date: 21 July 1998

I wonder if anyone has access to the complete 'Ars quatuor coronatorum',
the transactions of the Quatuor Coronati lodge. This is a well known
freemasonic journal specialising in masonic history which has
been published for many years.

If anyone has access to a full set of these Journal, I wonder if they
might find the time to browse through this and make a list of the
items which seem to be of alchemical interest.

RESEARCH NOTES : Alchemical music
Date: 22 Jul 1998
From: Adam McLean

Yesterday evening I listened to the new opera by John Harle 'Angel Magick'. This was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 from the Promenade concert in London.

The opera is set in 1587 opening in the house of John Dee in Mortlake. The main characters in the opera are Dee, Giorano Bruno, Edward Kelly, Sir Philip Sydney, Edmund Spencer, Jane Dee and Joan Kelly. Queen Elizabeth also makes an appearance, and an important figure in the action is the Archangel Raphael. Several themes are woven into this opera. The search of the secrets of the universe is perhaps the main theme. At the outset Dee sees this as lying in mathematics, while Bruno tries to convince him that it is an interior matter. Kelly has the opinion that this can only be found through magic. Another theme explored is the infamous 'wife swapping' scheme, and the whole work is suffused with alchemical ideas. One of the main sections is the opening and invoking of each of the planets in turn. The music is an interplay of music written in the style of the period, and modern electronic effects. Unlike many other experimental pieces, the music is very tonal and approachable. Much of the text was spoken rather than sung.

John Harle has certainly made some study of the subject, and it was rather rewarding to hear some alchemical material woven into a modern opera.

Perhaps this will eventually be released on CD.

Adam McLean

RESEARCH NOTES : Alchemical music
From: Adam McLean
Date: 28th July 1998

Yesterday when looking through the Mellon Catalogue of the alchemical manuscripts in Yale University Library, I found by happy accident a description of an early alchemical manuscript which contains a section of alchemical music.

This is MS 5 in the Mellon Catalogue. It is in Latin, originating in Germany or Austria and dated to around 1400. It contains a number of short tracts by such as Arnold of Villanova, John of Rupescissa, Geber, etc., but the second item is described as

Johannes Tecenensis. Antiphona, with musical setting.

There are four pages of music with text in Latin. The texts begins

"En pulcher lapis noster triplici fulcitus acie solertum..."
Behold! our beautiful threefold stone...

The pages are reproduced in the catalogue, so it should be possible for someone with sufficient knowledge of early music to make a transcription into modern notation.

RESEARCH NOTES : Alchemy in theses and articles From: Adam McLean
Date: 26th Jul 1998

I have just started reading Lawrence Principe's book 'The aspiring adept: Robert Boyle and his alchemical quest'. This is a most remarkable piece of research, as Principe uncovers so much material documenting Boyle's involvement in alchemy. I recommend it to anyone interested in the place of alchemy in the history of ideas. It shows the strength of a ruthless and exhaustive scholarly investigation of the subject. The rather vapid speculation about such matters we find in some books, is outshone by the strength of such dedicated scholarly research which penetrates through to the primary material.

This book appears to be substantially based on Lawrence Principe's Ph.D. thesis. It is excellent that he managed to find a publisher for his work, and it drew to my mind the fact that there must be a number of theses with excellent original research buried in libraries. Also the article on the author of the Mutus Liber, which I drew to our attention recently, was published in an academic journal which one would not necessarily think of investigating for articles relevant to alchemy.

I believe we really need to document such theses and articles and I would like to bring copies of all of these together here in Glasgow, as a part of the alchemy research library. I already have a basic collection of such material, but it needs to be substantially augmented in order to make it comprehensive.

I would welcome some practical offers of help with such a project.
From: Adam McLean
Date: 22 July 1998

By one of these strange serendipidies, I found this entry in Pritchard while looking for something else, shortly after posting out the message on Atwood's book.

Catalogue of a choice selection of books from the valuable library of the late Mrs Atwood of Knayton, Thirsk, Yorks. On sale by William Tait, Publisher and Bookseller, 37 Dunluse Avenue, Belfast, Ireland. c.1908. 56p.

Has anyone seen this catalogue? It might give us some insight into Atwood to know the books in her library

Adam McLean

From: Penny Bayer
Date : 23 Jul 1998

I have viewed the Catalogue of a Choice Selection of Books from the Valuable Library of the late Mrs Atwood c1910, William Tait, Belfast. It's in the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

It states that it includes "Rare and important items on Alchemy and the Hermetic Science, Ancient Religions and Mythology, The Mysteries, Gnostics, Kabalists, Medieval Mystics, Astrology, Mesmerism, Spiritualism, Theosophy, Works of Thos. Taylor, Behmen, Louis Claude Saint-Martin, Pordage, Jane Lead"

The sale included a 1593 edition of Artis Artiferae with woodcut illustrations, a complete set of the Kneph - the official journal of the 'Ancient and Primitive Rite of Masonry' and much else. There were 56 items on alchemy, and 22 on other matters.

I was interested in seeing which women writers she knew of - these were mostly in the mystics section, where there were works by Antonia Bournignon, Isabelle de Steiger, Mother Juliana, Gabrielle Rossetti and Jane Lead.

Penny Bayer

From: Victor Ribeiro Ferreira
Date: July 23 1998

Penny Baker wrote

>I was interested in seeing which women writers she knew of - these
>were mostly in the mystics section, where there were works by
>Antonia Bournignon, Isabelle de Steiger, Mother Juliana, Gabrielle
>Rossetti and Jane Lead."

Gabrielle Rossetti, an italian political exile and schollar, who taught at King's College. published (around 1838) a five volume investigation, on the steps of Eugène Aroux and Cantu, who both tried to assert Dante (and all the poetic main trends of Middle Ages) to some sort of secret-heretic beliefs, Cathars or Templars. The curious thing was a sort of conspiration of silence that over-shadowed all this authors well into the XXth century. In 1938, in L'Amour et l'Occident, Dennis de Rougement brought the subject to the foreground, quoting Eugène Aroux and Cesare Cantu, but not Rossetti. Incidently, he was the father of Dante Gabrielle Rossetti (b. 1828), the pre-Raphaelite English painter.

Just searching the web I found interesting references:

Isabelle de Steiger (?) - a painting, 1910, castles in the Air [URL:]

Jane Lead - (1678-1730) - a Bibliography About

Mother Juliana - (1342-after 1413) - A Biography and her "Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love" reflections on a "schewings" the author-nun experienced when she was 30 years and a half, and illiterate, written 20 years later.

Victor Ribeiro Ferreira

RESEARCH NOTES : Author of Mutus liber
From: Adam McLean
Date: 25th Jul 1998

The well known but enigmatic 'Mutus Liber' was published at La Rochelle in 1667. The author of this book is recorded on the title page engraving 'cuius nomen est Altus'. It has long been thought that this was an anagram of 'Saulat' and Iacob Saulat is by many people credited as having designed this book without words, as his name appears in the 'privilege of the King' which precedes the plates.

However, an article in the 'Revue francaise d'histoire du livre' 45 (1976), p205-211, which regrettably I have only recently discovered, provides us with evidence for a new author. This article points out that there is a copy of the Mutus Liber in Marsh's Library in Dublin, which bears the inscription 'Author Isaac Baulot'. The copy in this library came to Ireland with Elie Bouhereau , a physician from La Rochelle who emigrated into Ireland in 1685. Brouhereau thus lived in La Rochelle at the time the Mutus Liber appeared. The article suggests that this may even have been a signed copy of the book given by the author to Brouhereau.

It is interesting that IACOB SAULAT is an anagram of ISAAC BAULOT.
The article goes on to identify an actual 'Isaac Baulot' born in 1619, who would have been 58 when the 'Mutus Liber' appears. He may have been a physician and ceratinly met John Locke when he was travelling in France.

Locke records discussing for a long time with Baulot about remedies against, dropsy, colic, and epilepsy, and mentioning the manner of manufacturing aqua regia. (Locke suffered from asthma and hoping to improve his health, he went to France late in 1675. He spent his time partly in Montpellier, where there was a good medical school; partly in Paris, where he made friends with several scholars and scientists who influenced his developing empiricism; and partly traveling about France.)

I hope to have a colleague examine this book in Marsh's Library and see if any further information can be found.

RESEARCH NOTES : Author of Mutus liber
Date: Sat, 25 Jul 1998
From: mike dickman

I had been getting round to this.
In the current Paris exhibition of rare books in the new Bibliothèque Nationale (the one that looks like a table upside down and calls itself François Mitterand), visited a few days ago in the company of my (eek!) 'belle mère', there is an original copy of Mutus Liber (interestingly the ONLY overtly Alchemical book on the exhibition) which is, indeed, attributed to the hand of Baulot...
For those of you who love old books, by the way, if you have the chance... Don't take your mothers-in-law (unless, of course, (and it does happen, they tell me) they too are fascinated)...

Best regards,

RESEARCH NOTES : Mutus Liber in Marsh's Library
From Adam McLean
Date: 28th July 1998

Following up on the question of the authorship of the Mutus Liber I asked one of the members of this e-mail group, Marcella Gillick, who lives in Dublin to have a look at the book in Marsh's Library.

She confirmed that the book was their and has the inscription as described in the article.

17th century full goat skin binding.
Inside front hard cover there is written by hand in brown ink:-
''Ex dono Authoris Bouhereau
Clafs R,2 Tab 3 No 4''
Then there's a few blank pages, followed by the following text printed within a border on the left-hand page facing the Jacob's Ladder picture:-

[The address to the reader]

Underneath this printed text, again handwritten in brown ink:-

''Author Isaac Baulot''

Underneath this again, handwritten in pencil:-

''See Jean Flouret's article on this book in F3.a.1b.''

(The library had a copy of this article, which I was allowed photo-copy, but which I imagine is the same as the one you quoted to the forum - EXCEPT that this booklet (5 full pages of text plus 2 illustrations) says its from No.11 - 2 trimestre 1976 and you mentioned No.45.)

After which is this following printed text, and then a few more blank pages:-

''Privilege du Roy...."
[The privilege of the King - a copyright notice of the time]

... "Ledit Sieur Saulat a permis a Pierre Savouret, Marchand Libraire a la Rochelle, d'imprimer, ventre & debiter ledit Livre, suivant l'accord fait entr'eux.
Acheve d'imprimer pour la premiere fois, le 1 Fevrier 1677.
Registre sur le Livre de la Communaute des Libraires & Imprimeurs de Paris, le 28 November 1676. suivant l'Arrest du Parlement du 8 Avril 1653. v celuy du Confeil Prire du Roy du 27 Febvrior 1665 Thierry Syndic. Les Exemplaires ont este fournis.''

RESEARCH NOTES : Mutus Liber in Marsh's Library
From: Marcella Gillick
Date: 28th July 1998

The man Elias Bouhereau was the very first Librarian of Marsh's: 1701.

I will quote from Marsh's flyleaf advertisement handout, which gives an overview of their collection:-

''There are four main collections, consisting of 25,000 books relating to the 16th, 17th and the early part of the 18th centuries. As one might expect, there is a large collection of liturgical works, missals, breviaries, books of hours of the Sarum use, bibles printed in almost every language, a great deal of theology and religious controversy. But these collectors were men of scholarly tastes, and the scope of the subject is surprisingly wide and varied. There are books on medicine, law, science, travel, navigation, mathematics, music, surveying and classical literature in all the collections.
The most important collection is the Library of Edward Stillingfleet (1635-1699) who was Bishop of Worchester. In 1705 Narcissus Marsh paid stlg 2,500 for this library of nearly 10,000 books. It contains books printed by some of the earliest English printers: Berthelet, Daye, Fawkes, Notary, Pynson, Siberch, Wolfe and Wynkyn de Worde.
Archbishop Marsh left all his books to his library (except his Oriental manuscripts which he left to the Bodleian Library). He was particularly interested in science, mathematics and music, and many of his mathematical books are extensively annotated by him. Marsh also collected books in Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish and Russian.
Dr. Elias Bouhereau, a Huguenot refugee who fled from France in 1685, became the first librarian. His books, which he left to the Library, relate to Protestant theology and controversy, and to the University of Saumur which he had attended. There are some very fine example of early Continental printing: A copy of 'Le Rommant de la Rose' printed in Paris by Galliot du Pre is in its original binding.
John Stearne (1660-1745), biship of Clogher, bequeathed his books to Marsh's in 1745 - these are similar to the other collections, but among them is the oldest and most beautiful books in the Library, Cicero's 'Letters to his Friends' printed in Milan in 1472.
Marsh's catalogue is on the internet, at:
[On a quick check there were only a few books on alchemy, but a couple by Robert Fludd and Michael Maier. - Adam McLean]