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    Early Work on Natural History and Medicine

    Hugo Platt and Alexis [Alessio] of Piedmont [attributed to Girolamo Ruscelli]. The Jewel House of Art and Nature. Containing Divers Rare and Profitable Inventions, together with sundry new Experiments in the Art of Husbandry. With Divers Chimical Conclusions concerning the Art of Distillation, and the rare practices and uses thereof. Faithfully and familiarly set down, according to the Authours own experience. Wherunto is added, A rare and excellent Discourse of Minerals, Stones, Gums, and Rosins; with the vertues and use therof. [London: Bernard Alsop, 1653.] [bound with:] The Secretes of the reuerend Maister Alexis of Piemont containyng excellente remedies against diuerse diseases, woundes, and other accidentes, with the maner to make distillations, parfumes, confitures, diynges, colours, fusions, and meltynges. ... [London: John Kyngston for John Wight,1580.]. Quarto. Two works in one volume. Platt: A-2G4. [A1 & 2 in facsimile.] Ruscelli: [Lacks *8 (title page and prefatory matter] A-Q8 [lacks E1&6 text, Q7-8 (index)].
    Platt: [8], 232 pages. Ruscelli: [Lacks 16], 1-117ff=234, [18 of 22] pages. 19th century calf, gilt rules on covers. spine gilt, repaired at joints, marbled endpapers, old description pasted to endsheets; Platt: table leaves at front darkened with old owner's entries and chipped at edges, foxing, paper darkened and last two leaves chipped at edge; Ruscelli some finger-soiling and old note on verso of Q6v. Platt: woodcut illustration. From the Krown & Spellman Collection. Please visit for an extended description of this lot.

    More Information:

    Platt: Wing P2390. Hoover 644. Bitting 476. Krivatsy 9067 (imperfect). Waller 20124. Wellcome IV p. 399. Mottelay 124. Shulman 6. Ruscelli: STC 298. ESTC s100106. Ferguson, Secrets, III,37.

    Second edition (first 1594), of Platt's Jewel House, in many ways the most representative of his works, covering his agricultural work, his work on and concern with health and diet, and his mechanical inventions. "The volume consists of five tracts with separate title-pages, viz. : (1) his 'Divers new Experiments;' (2) 'Diverse new Sorts of Soyle not yet brought into any Publique Use;' (3) 'Chimical Conclusions concerning that Art of Distillation;' (4) 'Of Moulding, Casting Metals; (5) 'An offer of certain New Inventions which the Author proposes to Disclose upon reasonable Considerations.' The second of these tracts ... contains important notes by Platt on manure, and the last tract deals with miscellaneous topics, like the brewing of beers without hops, the preservation of food in hot weather and at sea, mnemonics, and fishing" (DNB).
    First published in Venice in 1556, this work on secrets is 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 Alessio's 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 experiment's 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 "professors of secrets" 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 ]. William Ward (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." [Oxford DNB]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2014
    8th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
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