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    A Very Popular Treasury of Sixteenth Century Medical Knowledge

    [Alexis [Alessio] of Piedmont] [Girolamo Ruscelli, attributed to]. The secretes of the reverende Maister Alexis of Piemount: contayning excellent remedies agaynste diuers dyseases, woundes, and other accidentes, with the maner to make dystillations, parfumes, confitures, dyings, colours, fusions, and meltings. A worke wel approved, very profitable and necessay for every man. Newely corrected and amended, and also somewhat enlarged in certayne places which wanted in the first edition. Translated out of French into Englishe, by William Warde. London: Henry Bynneman for John Wight, 1568. *8,A-Q8. [Bound Together With:] ... The Second Part... London: Rouland Hall for Nicholas Englande, 1563. A2 [misbound after (2)A],(2)A-C4, D-M8,N2. [Bound Together With:] ... The Thyrde and Last Part... London: Henry Denham for John Wyght, [1566]. A-B4, C-L8, M4. London: 1563-1568. First published in Venice in 1556, this work ascribed to Alessio is one of the most famous recipe books. These are later Ward editions. "The receipts are for the most part medical and pharmaceutical..."(Ferguson). Three quarto volumes in one. [6], 117, [11]; [2], 79, [7]; [1], 15, 17-75, [9] folios. Modern antique paneled calf, spine ends and bands lightly rubbed, marginalia and pen trials, soiling, scattered stains, first title torn in outer margin and mounted with a few letters affected, marginal restoration on following leaf and on last 2 index leaves of the third part. A very good copy. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
    Please visit HA.com/6112 for an extended description of this lot.


    More Information:

    According to the preface, Alessio decided, at age eighty-three, to put down his knowledge after he experienced the death of a prospective patient because he was reluctant to share his secrets. "...the feeling of remorse was so strong... [he] resolved to make amends by revealing all he knew for the good of mankind." (Ferguson, Secrets, III, 34.) Ferguson disputes the assigning the book to Ruscelli (see his notes in Biblioteca Chemica, volume I, page 22.

    William Ward (Warde) (1534-1609), physician and translator. "Ward was translator of The Secretes of the Reverende Maister Alexis Piemont: Containing Excellent Remedies Against Divers Diseases and other Accidents. The first edition was published in 1558 containing only the first part, and consisting of six books. Another two editions were printed in 1559 and contain a dedicatory letter by Ward to the earl of Bedford, notable for its protest against the folly of 'some curious Christians among us nowadays which most impudently despise all manner of medicines', and for its defence of the 'heavenly science' of physic. Ward mentions Christopher Plantin's edition of a French translation (Antwerp, 1557) as his original. The work became very popular as a treasury of medical and other knowledge in all the countries of Europe. The identity of Alessio of Piedmont has not been satisfactorily settled. Of this first part numerous editions were published in England. It occurs usually bound up with The Seconde Parte of the Secrets of Maister Alexis of Piemont, again translated by Ward and published in 1560 and 1563. The Thyrde and Last Parte of the Secretes of the Reverende Maister Alexis of Piemont translated by Ward appeared first in 1562. It contains six books, like the first part. Here his work seems to have ended but in many copies of the book a fourth and fifth part are added, translated by R. Androse." (Oxford DNB).

    STC 297, 301, 306. ESTC s100482; s121373; s100485. See: Bruning 305, 322, 364. Neville I, 28-29. Ferguson, Secrets, III, 36ff. Simon, Bacchica II, 30.

    Alexis [Alessio] of Piedmont [attributed to Girolamo Ruscelli]. The secretes of the reverende Maister Alexis of Piemount: contayning excellent remedies agaynste diuers dyseases, woundes, and other accidentes, with the maner to make dystillations, parfumes, confitures, dyings, colours, fusions, and meltings. A worke wel approved, very profitable and necessay for every man.Newely corrected and amended, and also somewhat enlarged in certayne places which wanted in the first edition. Translated out of French into Englishe, by William Warde.
    London:Henry Bynneman for John Wight, 1568. *8,A-Q8.
    [bound with:]
    The Second Part...
    London: Rouland Hall for Nicholas Englande, 1563. A2 [misbound after (2)A],(2)A-C4, D-M8,N2.
    [bound with:]
    The Thyrde and Last Part...
    London: Henry Denham for John Wyght,[1566]. A-B4, C-L8, M4. London: 1563-1568. 4to. 3 vols in 1. [6], 117, [11]; [2], 79, [7];[1], 15, 17-75,[9]ff. Modern antique paneled calf, spine ends and bands lightly rubbed, marginalia and pen trials, soiling, scattered stains, first title torn in outer margin and mounted with a few letters affected, marginal restoration on following leaf and on last 2 index leaves of the third part. First published in Venice in 1556, this work ascribed to Alessio is one of the most famous recipe books. "The receipts are for the most part medical and pharmaceutical...Ó[Ferguson]
    According to the preface Alessio decided in his 83rd year to put down his knowledge after he experienced the death of a prospective patient because he was reluctant to share his secrets. "...the feeling of remorse was so strong...(he) resolved to make amends by revealing all he knew for the good of mankind."[Ferguson,Secrets,Pt III,34.] Ferguson disputes the assigning the book to Ruscelli (see his notes in Biblioteca Chemica,vol I,p22.
    " Alessio was in fact the creation of a Venetian writer called Girolamo Ruscelli, who later revealed that AlessioÕs secrets were discovered by a secret Neapolitan experimental academy of which he, Ruscelli, was a member while he lived in Naples a few years before Fioravanti arrived there in 1548. Later, in Venice, the two would meet up and become fast friends. The bond between these intellectual companions, founded on a mutual love of experiment for experimentÕs sake, was but one link in a Europe-wide network of researchers that made up the underworld of sixteenth-century science.
    This is the story of one of those Òprofessors of secretsÓ as told, in a fashion, by himself. In attempting to reconstruct his memory in the imaginary letter that frames this book, I rely on his writings, but when necessary I supplement his words with those of contemporaries."[The Charlatan's Tale:A Renaissance Surgeon's World "By William Eamon ]
    Ward [Warde], William (1534Ð1609), physician and translator. "Ward was translator of The Secretes of the Reverende Maister Alexis Piemont: Containing Excellent Remedies Against Divers Diseases and other Accidents. The first edition was published in 1558 containing only the first part, and consisting of six books. Another two editions were printed in 1559 and contain a dedicatory letter by Ward to the earl of Bedford, notable for its protest against the folly of Ôsome curious Christians among us nowadays É which most impudently despise all manner of medicinesÕ, and for its defence of the Ôheavenly scienceÕ of physic. Ward mentions Christopher Plantin's edition of a French translation (Antwerp, 1557) as his original. The work became very popular as a treasury of medical and other knowledge in all the countries of Europe. The identity of Alessio of Piedmont has not been satisfactorily settled. Of this first part numerous editions were published in England. It occurs usually bound up with The Seconde Parte of the Secrets of Maister Alexis of Piemont, again translated by Ward and published in 1560 and 1563. The Thyrde and Last Parte of the Secretes of the Reverende Maister Alexis of Piemont translated by Ward appeared first in 1562. It contains six books, like the first part. Here his work seems to have ended but in many copies of the book a fourth and fifth part are added, translated by R. Androse." [Oxford DNB] STC 297, 301, 306. ESTC s100482; s121373; s100485. See: Bruning 305, 322, & 364. Neville I,28-9. Ferguson, Secrets, III,36ff. Simon, Bacchica II,30. Occult. Medicine. Secrets. Food. Wine.cryptography.Alchemy. Chemistry. Science.



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    October, 2014
    8th Wednesday
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