Alchemy Academy archive
July 2000

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Subject: ACADEMY : St Germain manuscript
From: Adam McLean
Date: 17th July 2000

I wonder if anyone has seen the actual original manuscript of the
'Most Holy Trinosophia of Saint Germain', or more correctly
'Ouvrage théosophique, cabalistique et hermétique, du
comte de Saint Germain'.

This unique manuscript is in the Library at Troyes MS. 2400.

I have seen all the printed versions which have black and
white illustrations. I am especially interested in the colours
of some of the full page images in this manuscript, as I would
like to make paintings based on some of these. So if anyone
has seen it or has access to colour photographs or slides,
I would be interested to hear from them.

Best wishes,

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY : St Germain manuscript
From: Stanislas Kossowski de Rola
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000

Dear Adam,

I have seen the manuscript in question and the only title that it actually
bears is: "La Très Sainte Trinosophie". As I have previously stated,
Saint Germain's name has erroneously been attached to it without
a shred of scholarly evidence to boost this fallacious attribution.
To be more precise the entire sum of the evidence - which has
caused Manly Hall and others to ascribe it to Saint Germain is
a probable bookseller's note pasted to a front end paper,
which I cannot help but consider quite unreliable.

My own research indicates instead that it belonged to Cagliostro
who appears to be its author. The circumstances described at
the very beginning of the work match his own when indeed he
languished in the Inquisition's gaols.

Although alchemical symbolism is used the intent is definitely
connected to a Rite of his own Egyptian masonry.

I do not have any color photographs save a small one of the
title-page which I will try to forward; however should you wish
to consult me on the colour details of any of the twelve plates, I
should be glad to be of help. I trust that you plan to paint pictures
inspired by their themes rather than attempt to color in the originals?
Is that correct?

All the very best.
Stanislas Kossowski de Rola

Subject: ACADEMY : St Germain manuscript
From: Adam McLean
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000


Dear Stanislas Kossowski de Rola,

>I have seen the manuscript in question and the only title that it
>actually bears is: "La Très Sainte Trinosophie".

I am glad to have this confirmation. The description
'Ouvrage théosophique, cabalistique et hermétique, du comte
de Saint Germain', I took from the catalogue of the Library at Troyes,
which was made in the late 19th century.

>My own research indicates instead that it belonged to Cagliostro
>who appears to be its author.

I also feel sure this is the correct attribution. The Saint Germain
connection seems to have been especially stressed by M.P.
Hall who had a definite agenda regarding this material.

>should you wish to consult me on the colour details of any of
>the twelve plates, I should be glad to be of help.

Yes please. Are the outlines drawn in pencil or pen? They
seem to have good strong outlines.

>I trust that you plan to paint pictures inspired by their themes
>rather than attempt to color in the originals? Is that correct?

My intention is to make, within the limits of my abilities, facsimile
paintings of important images from alchemical manuscripts.
Over the past two years I have coloured many of the hermetic
engravings and woodcuts, and now I want to work with images
from manuscripts. I feel these are best done in oils as it seems
much easier to make a close copy in this medium, especially
when enlarging these to a reasonable viewing size. I have
in the past two months or so made some copies of images
from the 'Splendor Solis', the 'Aurora consurgens' the 'Liber
sapientiae' and the Perreal 'Les remonstrances de Nature
à l'alchimiste errant' and the Bonacina series. I am not
really interested in producing new images from my own
imagination. I find the task of making a facsimile (or translation
of the image into the medium of oils) allows me to get closer
to the iconography and hopefully to the intention of the
original creators of these images. So I am not interested in
modernising or re-interpreting these images. I feel that it
is necessary to respect the tradition of alchemy and
work within that rather than rushing to rework images in a
modern way. That, at least, is my way of working with this
material. You can see some of this work on a special set of
web pages I am currently putting together (still very much
under construction!). (The URL may later be changed)

http://www.alchemywebsite.com/bookshop/paintings/paintings.html

I will try to order colour photographs from Troyes.

Adam McLean