Seattle, Washington: Published by Ouroboros Press, 2011 [actually, 2012]. Limited Edition. Hardcover. Stout Octavo, 6 x 9 inches. Publisher's cloth, gilt titles on spine. 528 pages. Rubricated title page in red and black ink. Illustrated with alchemical engravings, ornamental grotesques, dragons, trees, and fleurons. Includes the 11 x 14 folding plate of George Ripley's Wheel. A fine copy, as new in letterpress printed dust jacket. Fine in Dust Jacket. Item #311295
¶ The Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum is a major collection of English alchemical texts which encapsulate the arcana of the Magnum Opus in poetic form. Originally gathered from several rare medieval manuscripts by Elias Ashmole, the text represents the largest collection of verse treating of the production of the Philosopher’s Stone to be brought together in one volume. Here we find well known names in the alchemical corpus among whom are included; Thomas Norton, George Ripley, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Daston, Pearce the Black Monke, Richard Carpenter, Abraham Andrews, Thomas Charnock, William Bloomefield, Edward Kelley, John Dee, Thomas Robinson, William Backhouse, John Gower, John Lydgate, W. Redman and several anonymous authors. This who’s who of English alchemists is placed in historical context by a Prolegomena by Ashmole, which supports his thesis that England may be proud of its alchemical literary heritage. In addition Ashmole has provided ample annotations and commentary to each of the texts as supplementary material in the concluding chapter of the book. Originally published in 1652, 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 at the time. The text has a new introduction by William Kiesel and a full bibliography of alchemical and bibliographic materials used in researching the text. A major production.