Lot 3 of 222:
Alchemy manuscript with 67 color illustrations  

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Lot closed - unsold
Estimate:
$100,000 - $150,000

Title:
The Crowning of Nature (Coronatio Naturae) - illustrated manuscript
Author:
Place:
Publisher:
Date:
Early-to-mid 17th century
Description:

Highly Important Illustrated Manuscript, containing a complete suite of 67 full-page colored illustrations; together with 12 pages of accompanying Latin text and a partial English translation of same. Early-to-mid 17th century; the partial English translation c.1800. 31.8x19.5 cm (12½x7¾"), 19th century full red morocco gilt, all edges gilt; bound by Bedford .

Spectacular series of 67 drawings emblematically depicting the chemical process which creates the Philosopher’s Stone - the only known copy in private hands . The Crowning of Nature is the largest suite of connected imagery in all alchemical literature, illustrating all the stages of the process from “Chaos” to “Perfection.” Created by the English school of Alchemy, The Crowning of Nature was conceived as an intuitively evident statement which did not require additional textual commentary. The images are logically sequenced and each illustration is a  symbolic representation of the chemical operation occurring at the given stage of the alchemical process. Modern students of The Crowning of Nature think that the work’s encoded message can be scientifically analyzed and even fully deciphered into specific chemical procedures and compounds. A veritable epitome of alchemical technique, The Crowning of Nature superlatively examples the alchemical tradition of communicating scientific knowledge through emblematic illustrations.

The Crowning of Nature is thought to have crystallized in its existing form in the 16th century. The work is also known by the titles “The Wisdom of the Ancients” (Sapientia Veterum) and “The Work of the Angels” (Opus Angelorum), and the present manuscript in fact carries both titles on its binding and within its pages. While copies of this manuscript are often accompanied by commentary taken from the Rosarium Philosophorum, the present exemplar distinctively is prefaced by text from Sendivogious’ New Chemical Light. 
 
Handsome and well preserved, this manuscript importantly contains a complete suite of 67 images. (Many of the extant copies contain only an abbreviated portion of the work.) A note on the flyleaf by an early owner suggests that this particular manuscript was offered for sale in 1678 by  William Cooper, the premiere English publisher/bookseller of alchemical texts in the 17th century. Owned by General Charles Raines at the end of the 18th century - a major collector of alchemical and masonic manuscripts - it was in noble hands for the last two centuries. Illustrated alchemical manuscripts of such high quality as the present are very rare in commerce. This present exemplar of The Crowning of Nature is the only known copy in private hands. 
 
Lot Amendments
Condition:
Binding a little rubbed at joints and spine ribs; set modern half morocco folding box.
 
Item number:
289226
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