Magnum Opus Hermetic Sourceworks Series
This series of limited edition hand-bound books by Adam McLean were initially produced between 1979 and 1986. They were never sold through book dealers, but only by direct mail order. Consequently, these books became collectors items, often fetching high prices on the second-hand market. Only a few copies remain of some of the older titles in this series and a number are now entirely sold out. Since 1997 thirty new titles have been issued with more in preparation.
No. 39. Voarchadumia
Translated with an Introduction by Paul Ferguson
This oddly titled book is among the earliest of printed books on alchemy ever issued. It was printed in 1530 and thus predates Biringuccio's Pirotechnia, the Rosarium and the Nazari by some decades. It had a considerable influence on the alchemical tradition as this developed through the 16th and 17th centuries. It is still referred to often by modern writers, though one suspects few have read the difficult Latin text. Paul Ferguson has here created a clear and rigorous translation of the work which will allow people to study this difficult text for the first time. He provides a lengthy introduction in which he surveys the background of the author Giovanni Agostino Panteo and the influence of his text and ideas on later alchemy. The work is simultaneously theoretical and practical. Early in his work Panteo draws clear distinction between the different terms 'Voarchadumia', 'Alchemy' and 'Archemy'. His book outlines the laboratory practice of his time, which invloved precise measurements of weights and exact use of various equipment. The woodcut illustrations are among the first detailing the laboratory and metalworking equipment used at that time.
Limited edition of 200 signed and numbered hardbound copies. 12 illustrations and numerous tables and figures in the text. A5. 155 pages.