Description

    [Featured Lot] Wharton, George, Baron. & Johann Rothmann. The Works Of That Late Most Excellent Philosopher And Astronomer, Sir George Wharton...[Containing] Johann Rothman's Keiromantia:Or, The Art Of Divining By Lines amd Signatures Engraven in the Hand of Man, By the Hand of Nature...
    London: H[enry] H[ills] for John Leigh and Awnsham Churchill, 1683. 8vo. ¹1,A8 [A5 the chiromancical hand has been moved before Ll2 the title-page of the Rothmann], B-Vv8. [32].670,[1,errata]. Contemporary spotted calf, blind rules on covers, spine banded, gilt rules, title on red morocco label, bottom spine cap off, front hinge split at bottom, some leather worn from cover, edges speckled red; endpapers renewed in the 19th century?; minor stain in inner margin of last 8 leaves; wormholes in lower margin, a pinhole through the text and some tracking on pp555-594 with some losses.The paper is quite clean and crisp otherwise. Frontispiece of Wharton , plate of chiromantical hand, astrological charts in text. T.p. in red and black. First collected edition. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
    Krown & Spellman retail: $800



    More Information:

    Wharton, Sir George 1617-1681, first baronet, astrologer and royalist. "He pursued his astrological studies at Oxford with much industry... On 22 March 1644-1645 he made, at Oxford, the acquaintance of Elias Ashmole, whom he first instructed in alchemy and astrology. Ashmole and Wharton remained friends for life...Wharton involved himself in embittered controversy with rival astrologers who were politically opposed to him. He attacked with especial rancour William Lilly, John Partridge, and John Booker, and for many years he maintained against them a war of vituperation. Wharton's almanac for 1644, which he printed at Oxford under the name of Naworth, 'with His Maiesties command,' was severely assailed by Booker in his pamphlet entitled 'Mercurius Celius.' Wharton retorted in 'Mercurio-Celicio-Mastix; or, an Anti-caveat to all such, as have (heretofore) had the misfortune to be Cheated and Deluded by that Grand and Traiterous Impostor of this Rebellious Age, John Booker : Printed Anno Dom. 1644.' In Wharton's almanac for next year he first supplied his own name on the title-page and described himself as student in 'the Mathematicks.' In the preface he denounced Booker as 'that clubfisted fellow,' and Booker's friend Partridge as 'that blood hound.' Under each month of the calendar he catalogued the chief events of the war then in progress, and interspersed his work with scurrilous rhymes. 'An Astrologicall Judgement upon his Majesties Present March: Begun from Oxford May 7, 1645  By George Wharton,' was published at Oxford by H. Hall in the same year. At the same time Lilly, in his 'Starry Messenger,' denounced Wharton as a man of 'no worth' (a pun on Naworth), and charged him with plagiarism.

    After the surrender of Oxford in 1646, Wharton 'was put to his shifts and lived as opportunity served.' He was in Yorkshire in September 1646, when he wrote 'Bellum Hybernicale: or Irelands Warre. Astrologically demonstrated, from the late Celestiall congresse of the two Malevolent planets Saturne and Mars in Taurus, the Ascendent of that Kingdome' (1646-7, 4to). Shortly afterwards he renewed his attack on Lilly in 'Merlini Anglici Errata.' Subsequently he removed to his native place in Westmorland. In August 1647 he was ill of the plague. On his recovery he took part in publishing a quarto sheet week by week in London under the title 'Mercurius Elenchicus.' There he venomously satirised the proceedings of the parliament. On 12 March 1648-9 he was arrested and sent to Newgate by order of the parliament. On 26 Aug. he escaped from the prison, and remained in concealment until 21 Nov. 1649, when he was recaptured and committed to the Gatehouse, Westminster. In the autumn of 1650 Ashmole, who befriended him throughout his troubles, learned that John Bradshaw, the president of the council of state, had resolved to have him hanged. Ashmole appealed to Lilly to use his interest with his patron, Bulstrode Whitelocke, so as to procure Wharton's release. In the result Wharton was discharged from prison after engaging to write nothing thenceforth 'against the parliament or state.' On regaining his liberty he was quite destitute, and Ashmole generously invited him and his family to occupy his house at Bradfield in Berkshire. For a time Wharton acted as Ashmole's agent on the estate, but he chiefly occupied himself with his almanacs. In 1657 and three following years he gave them the new title of 'Calendarium Ecclesiasticum,' and added under the title of 'Gesta Britannorum' a useful chronological table of the leading events in English history from 1600. In 1652 he brought out a translation of a Latin treatise on palmistry or chiromancy, called 'The Art of Divining, by the Lines and Signatures engraven in the hand of man, written by John Rothman, M.D...Wood calls him Ôa constant and thorough paced royalist, a good companion, a witty droll, and a waggish poet." DNB

    Nothing is known about Rothmann other than he was a mathematician and physician who practiced in Saschen-Anhalt. He published his Chiromantiae Theorica Practica in 1595 which was an attempt to bring chiromancy and astrology together into one discipline."The highly abstruse and theoretical astrology would benefit by being tied down to so worldly a thing as flesh and bood, while palistry, already struggling in a tightly fixed symbolism, would be given more freedom bty its association with an art which followed a prolix individual reading for any one symbol.' [Gettings, Book of the Hand,179.] "Only five books on Palmistry were published in the English language between 1500 and 1700, three of them translations.This is one of the most beguiling..."

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2014
    16th-23rd Thursday-Thursday
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