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Alexander Guthrie Stewart
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 Posted: Thu Oct 29th, 2009 10:32 pm
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I was wondering if anyone has had a look at this manuscript?  Whilst down in London I thought I would avail myself of the British Library and its collection of manuscripts, but what of course I am realising now is that I have very limited abilities to decipher the scripts used, let alone a lack of Latin.   

Having seen one of Adam's drawings from this manuscript I thought I would have a look at it first, and indeed the drawings are very fine.  What I was wondering, apart from if anyone else has looked at it, is if anyone has written anything up on it and its manuscripts and/ or illustrations?  From what I can gather from the entry on the database of Alchemical manuscripts on this website many of those in this book are perhaps quite common, but I am having trouble tracking down exactly how common (After all there are many references to the stone of the philosophers in many different manuscripts and as I said I lack the ability to read the script).

I also noticed that on folio 69 it seems set up with text above and below a drawing, space for which is left in future pages but only a few small drawings are completed, they appear to show a tree in a garden.  Does anyone know what text this is?

Finally, folio 106 has many roundels with what the database calls "Alchemical Terms in red ink, followed by drawings illustrative of them".

It struck me that this is rather similar to the many such roundels that were common in printed books in the 17th century, but I do not know enough to be able to say whether or not this is 15th century or 16th century, but it looks like the earliest such set of drawings that I have seen, unless someone else knows better.  I am sure I have seen this way of representing things in other medieval drawings, but will have to do some digging to check. 

(This is something I am noticing - books and papers on Alchemy rarely reproduce the actual illustrations, especially from such early works, yet I think the illustrations are an integral part of the texts.  I noticed in one such reproduction by F S Taylor of a page from the Chrysopoeia of Cleopatra that there were several symbols that matched or were similar to those used in Greco-Roman Magical Papyri of that period, yet Taylor said merely that their meaning was doubtful, when to me what it shows is that there were connections between the magic of the period and Alchemy, which isn't really surprising)

 

adammclean
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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2009 07:53 pm
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I cannot remember seeing all the illustrations from this manuscript.

Does the text contain a  version of the Rosarium Philosophorum ?

Alexander Guthrie Stewart
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 Posted: Sun Nov 15th, 2009 12:35 pm
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Sorry to take so long to get back to you.

It may well do so.  It has Arnold De Villanova's book on the philosophers stone, so it may well be that this is the Rosarium philosophorum. 

Here are the roundels in question:

http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=19936

 

Also an earlier illustration:

http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=19930

Showing a man and a woman and a toad, I believe the motto on the base of the fountain(?) says "Spiritus anima corpus".

 

Last edited on Sun Nov 15th, 2009 10:14 pm by Alexander Guthrie Stewart

Carl Lavoie
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 Posted: Sun Nov 15th, 2009 02:03 pm
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Hi,

Rafal, in the The Hermetic Journal, 1991, pages 78-90, had pasted down this (second) illustration, reused in Ashmole’s florilège. Same composition: the figure disgorging in the Sol and Luna vial, the two dragons, the couple and the toad. Maybe there in a clue in the Theatrum, a marginal note leading to a source (I remember some sepia notes jolted down about "Rosar. Maj" in Ripley's section.) Here are the two illustrations, and a quote of Rafal’s paper.

 

Actually, here it is from the 1617 edition, at the page 350 (of the book itself; that is '366/512') :

http://www.scribd.com/doc/2518732/Theatrum-Chemicum-Britannicum-1617


 



"The well known illustration from Ashmole's Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum shows the Toad at the bottom of the symbolic process, probably indicating its beginning. It is interesting that it joins the male and female figures, as if it symbolized the power of attraction with some sexual overtones. The whole figure is entitled "Spiritus, Anima, Corpus", of which the Corpus or Body is the male-female pair."

 

Last edited on Sun Nov 15th, 2009 05:16 pm by Carl Lavoie

Alexander Guthrie Stewart
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 Posted: Sun Nov 15th, 2009 10:07 pm
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Thanks for the link to the Theatrum online, I didn't know it had been scanned in.

I shall try and find the paper as well.

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Mon Nov 16th, 2009 05:05 am
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Rafal's article is on Adam's website:

http://www.alchemywebsite.com/toad.html

Alexander Guthrie Stewart
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 Posted: Mon Nov 16th, 2009 10:42 am
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I thought it would be, I just hadn't gotten around to searching for it last night.


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