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    [Alchemy]. Johannes Antonius Pantheus [or Giovanni Agostino Pantheo]. Ars transmutationis metallicae cum Leonis X. ponti. max. et conci. capi. Decemvirum Venetorum Edicto. [Venice: Johannes Tacuinus, 3 January 1519 (the first part with a separate colophon dated 7 September 1518)]. Scarce first edition. Two parts in one quarto volume (8.125 x 6 inches; 206 x 154 mm). 38 leaves. Signatures: A-E4 F6 G-I4. Printed in roman, Greek, and Hebrew type; with side notes. Text of A3 within large woodcut border, several full-page and smaller woodcut diagrams in the text, large woodcut initials. Colophon: Venetiis editum: in aedibus Joannis Tacuini impressorum accuratissimi tertio Kalen. Januarii 1519. Recto of fol. 27 with new title: "Commentarium theoricae artis metallicae transmutationis."

    Modern antiqued vellum over thin boards, rebacked. Edges with dark stain and with what appears to be lettering on the top edge (some edge stain visible at edges of text leaves). Endpaper browned. Title with pencil erasures in upper margin and a couple of very faint small stains. Some very light browning, a few minor spots. A few tiny nicks to outer edge of rear free endpaper. Fol. 25 with diagonal crease from upper corner into text, affecting a few letters on recto and initial on verso. Bookseller's label on front pastedown: "Libreria Antiquaria / Mediolanum / Via Montebello, 24 / Milano." Protected in a custom cloth-covered clamshell case.

    The subject of Pantheus's study is the transmutation of metals. Charts, diagrams, and symbols are deployed to set out the relations between substances, and sources are cited, some of which the author could only have seen in manuscript. "Pantheus wrote against spurious alchemy and he deals partly with the assay of gold... and partly with the chemical preparation of various substances which were made at Venice in his time and were used in the arts. He describes, for example, the manufacture of white lead and of an alloy for mirrors" (Ferguson).

    Pantheus was an Italian priest and alchemist. Parts of this work were incorporated into Ars et theorie transmutationis metallicae cum voarchadumia, published in 1550.

    Duveen, p. 449 ("a great rarity"); Edit 16 CNCE 72953; Ferguson II, p. 167; Wellcome I, 4722.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2020
    15th-16th Thursday-Friday
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