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Rafal T. Prinke
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The attached image comes from the on-line book by Alanah Fitch(the link to it was posted by Paul Ferguson in the Bibliography section in May). The author just says it comes from the book From Caveman to Chemist by Hugh W. Salzberg (OUP 1991). If anyone has that book at hand, I would be grateful for checking the original source of the image.

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Paul Ferguson
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Dear Rafal,

Here is her e-mail addy should you wish to contact her direct:

afitch@luc.edu


Paul

Leigh Penman
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Hi Rafal, they have the book in the chemistry library down here, I will chave a look for you in the morning!

Rafal T. Prinke
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Hi Paul and Leigh,

I emailed Alanah Fitch right after Paul posted her address but so far she has not responded.

In the meantime I found it on abebooks at 1.99 USD, so I ordered it (apparently half of it is somehow related to alchemy but seems to be written with a positivist approach from the descriptions I've seen). Anyway, Leigh, if does not take too much of your time, I shall be grateful for checking it tomorrow :-)

Best regards,

Rafał

 

 

 

Leigh Penman
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Hi Rafal,

I'm not surprised you haven't gotten a response from Alanah Fitch ... mainly because she didn't write the book in question!

Anyway, I looked at the copy here. The image appears on p.37. The caption reads: "Allegorical representation of lead as a slow, crippled old man (because of lead's density). The representation is a woodcut dating from the renaissance."

The source is given as the "Bettmann archive", which is a photo archive similar to Getty Images. You might be able to find the image on their website, although its perhaps best to write to the Bettmann people direct.

Unfortunate that Salzberg didn't provide a direct source! But good luck with the hunt! The book itself is a bit of a dog, too, I have to say. $1.99 seems about right.

Rafal T. Prinke
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Hi Leigh,

Just for the update -- I contacted Corbis who administer the Bettman archives. The Polish branch replied instantly (even two persons wrote to me independently) but they could not find the image. They advised to contact the US Corbis central and supplied the email address. I did -- but got no reply.
The image certainly comes from a printed book (text on the other side of the page can be seen on the reproduction available). But I would be interested whether it was pre-Maier or post-Maier :-)
Does anyone know of other images or textual references to Saturn watering trees?

Paul Ferguson
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Rafal T. Prinke wrote:
Hi Leigh,

Just for the update -- I contacted Corbis who administer the Bettman archives. The Polish branch replied instantly (even two persons wrote to me independently) but they could not find the image. They advised to contact the US Corbis central and supplied the email address. I did -- but got no reply.
The image certainly comes from a printed book (text on the other side of the page can be seen on the reproduction available). But I would be interested whether it was pre-Maier or post-Maier :-)
Does anyone know of other images or textual references to Saturn watering trees?


I searched the Corbis website pretty thoroughly and I couldn't find anything either.

Sendivogius, in his 'Novum lumen chemicum' (1604), depicts Saturn as a gardener. This image is taken over by Michael Maier in his 'Symbola aureae mensae duodecim nationum'), who also shows Saturn as having one leg amputated at the knee. There is some discussion of this (and, I think, an illustration) in Jan Reed's Burlington Magazine article 'Some Alchemical Engravings':

http://www.jstor.org/pss/869001

Carl Lavoie
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.

Good day Rafal,

I haven’t gone through Alciat and C. De Ripa, but this bookseller’s mark came out fifty years before Sendivoge’s Novum Lumen. It depicts a man (‘Know thyself’) with one winged foot, while the other leg is crippled. A spiritual elevation vs. physical limitation opposition (like the king sceptre/fool’s cap).

Note the crutch and walking stick, along with the “Saturnine” features. As for the inscription in the ouroboros ... it’s all Greek to me, sorry.

[You need to copy and paste the complete, two lines, web link.]

Berteau (Thomas). – Bookseller at Lyon. 1554.

http://books.google.ca/books?id=8TMGAAAAQAAJ&dq=Louis-catherine silvestre&lr=&pg=PA459&ci=276,128,540,774&source=bookclip"><img# 




The other images (No. 850 & 851), are from the same source. They show a man using a watering can pretty much identical to the one of Saturn later. An heirloom, I guess. Silvestre only mentions Courteau, but it was also the one of his associate, Nicolas Barbier  (“A Genève, il utilise aussi la marque aux deux hommes plantant et arrosant surmonté du tétragramme divin. A partir de 1557, il l'emploie avec Courteau, qui la conserve après la mort de son associé. » [Heitz, Genfer, Nos 9-11].)


COURTEAU (Thomas). - Printer in Geneva. 1557 - 1567.

 http://books.google.ca/books?id=8TMGAAAAQAAJ&dq=Louis-catherine silvestre&lr=&pg=PA487&ci=12,131,826,1307&source=bookclip"><img#v=onepage&q=&f=false



I am not saying, here, that these very plates must have been the direct inspiration for the engraver of the ‘Saturn watering a tree’ in Sendivogius and Maier treatises; only that there were, available in the small world of printers and booksellers, some pictorial precedents to which the artist could be indebted.

.


Last edited on Sun Aug 23rd, 2009 03:11 am by Carl Lavoie

Paul Ferguson
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Carl Lavoie wrote:
.

As for the inscription in the ouroboros ... it’s all Greek to me, sorry.





Gnothi seauton (Know thyself)

Rafal T. Prinke
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Paul Ferguson wrote:
There is some discussion of this (and, I think, an illustration) in Jan Reed's Burlington Magazine article 'Some Alchemical Engravings'

Thanks for this reference. There is, however, just a mention and an illustration from Stolcius. No discussion in the sense of the meaning or origin of the image/idea.

Rafal T. Prinke
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Hello Carl,

Thank you for both examples of similar imagery. The second one is especially interesting.

Carl Lavoie wrote: Berteau (Thomas). – Bookseller at Lyon. 1554.
COURTEAU (Thomas). - Printer in Geneva. 1557 - 1567.

I am not saying, here, that these very plates must have been the direct inspiration for the engraver of the ‘Saturn watering a tree’ in Sendivogius and Maier treatises; only that there were, available in the small world of printers and booksellers, some pictorial precedents to which the artist could be indebted.

Certainly. And I guess they actually used that type of watering cans at the time so the mataphor may have been taken from "reality" as well. Tracing the deveelopment of this particular image may perhaps be a useful example of how such metaphors developed and how alchemical ideas were attached to them. I am saying "useful" because it is relatively rare, with just three instances, and is not overloaded with non/pre-alchemical symbolic legacy (as are lions, eagles, salamanders, kings, queens, etc.).

Rafal T. Prinke
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Looking at both the "Caveman" image and the Sendivogius/Maier/Stolcius image (as in my avatar on the left), I have only now realized that while the latter displays a can like that in the 16th printer devices posted by Carl, the "Caveman" one looks pretty much like those we are using today. So probably that image is later? Is there a history of watering cans around? :D

Last edited on Sun Aug 23rd, 2009 01:17 pm by Rafal T. Prinke

Rafal T. Prinke
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I did find some interesting examples of early watering cans and watering pots. The latter is what the engraving from Maier shows but, curiously, the depiction is incorrect as the gardener had to stop the top opening with his/her thumb (or a mechanical device), to prevent the water from leaking out while carrying the pot. It cannot be seen how this could be done on this particular shape. Some examples are here:

http://www.oldandinteresting.com/

(move down a bit to "watering floors and gardens").

The watering can similar to those we use today are known from late 15th c. so the shape in the "Caveman" illustration does not necessarily make the image "post-Maier". See examples here:

http://www.musee-moyenage.fr/pages/page_id18815_u1l2.htm

and here

http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/ceramics/pages/largerimage.asp?obj_id=116437%20&img_id=51447


Paul Ferguson
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I wonder if it's one of the illustrations in:

"The Bettmann Archive picture history of the world: the story of Western civilization retold in 4460 pictures"

Authors: Manley Stolzman, Otto Bettmann
ISBN-10: 039441201X
ISBN-13: 9780394412016
Publication Year: 1978

Can someone look at page 48 of this book, where there seems to be something about alchemical imagery?

Carl Lavoie
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Hi Rafal,


This device is also shown here, No. 1303 (Claude Marchant, bookseller at Lyon, 1550 - 1556.)

http://books.google.ca/books?id=8TMGAAAAQAAJ&dq=Louis-catherine%20silvestre&lr=&pg=PA743#v=onepage&q=&f=false

 

But they had it re-engraved, as the previous artist, a city slicker, had left the thumb on the top opening (No. 414: François et Claude Marchant, booksellers at Lyon, 1548)...

http://books.google.ca/books?id=5TMGAAAAQAAJ&dq=Louis-catherine%20silvestre&lr=&pg=PA223#v=onepage&q=&f=false

 

... which didn’t deter Bayley (1912) from choosing it.


http://books.google.ca/books?id=pTeuIvN1ZogC&lpg=PA66&ots=hQKpO-1mds&dq=donec%20optata%20veniant&pg=PA66#v=onepage&q=&f=false

 
Anyway, it’s description of this mark that is puzzling me. It goes:

 “A hand is holding an upside-down cup from which flows a golden rain falling on a flower vase. Donec optata veniant.”

(«Une main soutient une coupe renversée de laquelle s’échappe une pluie d’or qui tombe sur un vase de fleurs. »  J.-B. Monfalcon, Manuel du bibliophile et de l’archéologue lyonnais, Paris, 1857, p.xxviii.)



- Why is it stated that it is ‘a golden rain’? I’m wondering, is it just a writer’s fancy, or is there a reference I’m missing? For me, the golden rain evokes the Danaë myth (that has been used in the late alchemical literature), but that’s it. I’m not implying that this printer’s device has any hermetic symbolism, just wondering what could be the possible reference.

 



Last edited on Mon Aug 24th, 2009 08:14 pm by Carl Lavoie

Alexander Guthrie Stewart
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Hey, that photo looks very like the one I have that was made by Trinity Court potteries, who make replica pottery objects such as cups, plates etc.

They do go back to the 16th century and possibly before, although I've not seen any pictures or descriptions myself. 

Marcella Gillick
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Dear Rafal
There are another two of your sought-after images in the same text, with a bit more reference:-

Sublimation, the conversion of solid to gas, Figure 6.3, is shown by Jamstahler with Saturn in the lower right hand corner laboring to grow metals in a tree. The king and queen are again separated this time by the distillation process. A similar picture is shown from the frontispiece to Joachim Becher’s Natur-Kundigung
der Metallen, 1661, in which Saturn with his symbol of a scythe (time) waters the tree of conception and with the help of the labor of alchemy grows the metals in the tree (Figure 6.4) (Smith, 1994, p.220).



And I’ve also found two references of this image in Sendivogius and Maier:-

Chymists and Chymistry’ by Lawrence Principe:-

Chapter 8: Newton’w theory of Metallic Generation in the Previously neglected Text “Humores minerals continuo decidunt”: William R Newman
Newtown uses the terms “Saturn” and “magnet” for the mercury of the metals. The lameness of this mercury is a reference to the depiction of Saturn in Sendivogius’s 1604 Novum lumen chemicum as a gardener; in Michael Maier’s later Symbola aureae mensae duodecim nationum, the Sendivogian gardner-Saturn is shown with an amputation below the knee. By watering his garden, this Saturn provides the mercurial moisture to metals, an essential part of their material substrate.
 
I hope this is of some use to you
Very best wishes
Marcella

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Last edited on Tue Aug 25th, 2009 10:35 am by Marcella Gillick

Marcella Gillick
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In addition it appears that Becher had a second image of Saturn, in his Parnassi Illustrati, Pars III, Miner alogia - as described below - along with Natur Kundigung (with a different date) - in ‘The Birth and development of the Geological Sciences’ by Frank Dawson Adams (cool book - free download on-line at http://www.archive.com)

Wherefore we reach the conclusion that metals and other minerals are subterranean plants having their birth within the earth. The frontispiece of Becher's Natur Kundigung der Metallen (Frankfort, 1705) presents an interesting allegorical picture of this metallic tree (Plate IX).

The rays from the sun are beating down on the roots of the tree. They bear the inscription "Gigno" (I beget). The trunk of the tree is inscribed with the word "Concipio" (I conceive). In the foliage of the tree are seen the signs of the metals gold, silver, mercury, copper, tin, and iron. The alchemical signs for sulphur and salt are in the earth at its roots. At the foot of the tree on either side stand two figures on the right that of a young man resting on his spade, which bears the word "Elaboro" (I obtain by labor); on the left that of an old man scantily clothed, who has lost one leg and is supporting himself on a crutch with one hand, while in the other he holds a pot from which he is watering the ground about the foot of the tree. This pot bears the symbol assigned by the alchemists to the metal lead. This figure represents the god Saturn, the planet bearing whose name was always coupled with the metal lead, in the writings of the alchemists. That this is the true interpretation of the figure is seen from the fact that essentially the same figure appears on page 26 in Becher's Parnassi Illustrati, Pars III, Miner alogia published at Ulm in 1662. Here, the old man is leaning on a scythe instead of a cutch, while over his head appears the word "Saturnus." This attribute apparently takes the place of the pruning.

best wishes

Marcella

Rafal T. Prinke
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Dear Marcella,

Thank you very much for both posts and the valuable references -- also that to the electronic edition of Frank Dawson Adams's book.

The figure in the Jamstahler emblem is probably Saturn, although he does not have other usual attributes than the scythe (and sadly no watering can/pot). But that from Becher is suberb! -- how could I overlook it? :-)

Paul Ferguson
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Rafal T. Prinke wrote:
Dear Marcella,

Thank you very much for both posts and the valuable references -- also that to the electronic edition of Frank Dawson Adams's book.

The figure in the Jamstahler emblem is probably Saturn, although he does not have other usual attributes than the scythe (and sadly no watering can/pot). But that from Becher is suberb! -- how could I overlook it? :-)


Becher's book is available as a free download from Google books:

http://books.google.com/books?id=5vETAAAAQAAJ&dq="Natur-Kundigung+der+Metallen"&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=74VvnXS7I9&sig=ROTHDPMHD1AuF_HAto1Hv4W7gmw&hl=en&ei=UluWSvijEZPVjAeV9ojJDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false

A hand-coloured version of the image is A163 in Adam's series.

http://www.alchemywebsite.com/amclglr9.html

Rafal T. Prinke
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Hi Marcella,

Marcella Gillick wrote:
That this is the true interpretation of the figure is seen from the fact that essentially the same figure appears on page 26 in Becher's Parnassi Illustrati, Pars III, Miner alogia published at Ulm in 1662. Here, the old man is leaning on a scythe instead of a cutch, while over his head appears the word "Saturnus."
And this clue was crucial! Yes, the image from my original question is from that other book of Becher. There is a digital edition at HAB:

http://diglib.hab.de/wdb.php?dir=drucke/23-2-phys-2f-3

or just see the page in question:

http://diglib.hab.de/drucke/23-2-phys-2f-3/00026.jpg

Thank you Marcella and everyone else -- all suggestions and leads were helpful.

Carl Lavoie
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.

(Epilogue?) A little detail remains, though: how come the watering jug is different in the first Becher’s image provided by Marcella ...

http://books.google.com/books?id=5vETAAAAQAAJ&ots=74VvoUQ9N7&dq=Johann%20Joachim%20Becher%2C%20Natur-K%C3%BCndigung%20der%20Metallen%2C&pg=PP5#v=onepage&q=&f=false

... and the one Adam coloured (see image below)? The first has the ‘lead/Saturn’ symbol on the jug, while in Adam’s one, the watering jug is bare, but have some writing underneath (that I can’t make out). Could there have been two different printings? Adam, could you tell what it read in your version?




.

Paul Ferguson
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Carl Lavoie wrote:
.

(Epilogue?) A little detail remains, though: how come the watering jug is different in the first Becher’s image provided by Marcella ...

http://books.google.com/books?id=5vETAAAAQAAJ&ots=74VvoUQ9N7&dq=Johann%20Joachim%20Becher%2C%20Natur-K%C3%BCndigung%20der%20Metallen%2C&pg=PP5#v=onepage&q=&f=false

... and the one Adam coloured (see image below)? The first has the ‘lead/Saturn’ symbol on the jug, while in Adam’s one, the watering jug is bare, but have some writing underneath (that I can’t make out).


Seems to say:

ALO = I NOURISH
CONCIPIO = I CONCEIVE

and on the spade:

ELABORO = I TOIL OVER

Marcella Gillick
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Dear Rafal

You are very welcome - it was only just a bit of idle googling on my part, not something I know anything about :) so I'm delighted that my contribution was of use.

very best wishes

Marcella




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