MS 446 Alchemy, 15th Century France

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MS 446 Alchemy, 15th Century France

149.99

Date: 15th Century

Author: Unknown

 

Language: Middle French

 

“MS. 446, produced in France in the late 15th century, is a rich example of an alchemical treatise, although it is devoid of most of the cryptic alchemical phrases that are so enigmatic to us today. It centres rather on the technical possibilities of the art. Amply illustrated with 56 colour drawings, it details 20 chemical procedures and processes. The main text is followed by seven folios of full-page alchemical drawings, seven folios containing an alchemical synthesis, and three folios of practical recipes.

 

The quality and relative uniformity of the illustrations are what have made this manuscript known to scholars. They are painted in watercolour and retain vivid colours (red, yellow, green and blue-grey). But more importantly, they are closely related to the text, since they offer deliberate illustrations of the author’s technical demonstrations

 

The text is written in late Middle French and is a perfect example of how the language was transitioning towards modern French at this time. It offers great uniformity of spelling and vocabulary. The writing is consistent with the period, clear and uniform throughout (except for folios 39–44, where the hand changes for the script as well as for the drawings). Editorial features are clear and consistent, with red chapter headings and paragraph marks.

The manuscript’s subject matter is alchemy in its medical doctrinal sense, meaning that the purpose of the text is to assist in producing the ‘elixir’ of long life. Therefore, the text is rather pragmatic and technical, with the usual symbolic overtones shared by many alchemical works, but none of the mystical and philosophical apparatus of some of the very learned alchemical treatises. This feature makes it very accessible to a wide audience, both in the Middle Ages and today. The text gives a unique and extensive list of alchemical apparatus and vessels, about 80 per cent of which are illustrated in every detail. This is a rare opportunity to document and contextualise medical pharmaceutical techniques that were made accessible in the Middle Ages through alchemical treatises.”

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Reproduction Details:

The hardcover books are made with two pieces of real wood on the inside. The leather is a 4 oz cowhide from a small supplier is New York state. The Glue we use to attach the leather to the wood is made at our facility and is a period correct wheat glue. Along the spine we use a modern perfect binding with modern glue to make the binding last longer that the older style. We also add three layers of mull cloth to the outside of the perfect binding , drying in between each layer, the mull cloth is a traditional way to make the binding stiff and strong.

Note:

All of our facsimiles are made after the order is placed. Please allow 4-6 weeks for notification of shipment.

 

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