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. 48.Philosophia Hermetica
by Federico Gualdi
Federico Gualdi, though of German origin, spent much of the formative period of his life in Venice. It is difficult to uncover factual information about the life of Gualdi, as he presented himself as an adept, surrounded himself with mystery and later there accreted around him such a mass of legend that it seems impossible now to tease out fact from supposition. In a sense he achieved, some decades earlier, the same notoriety as did the Comte de Saint-Germain (c.1712-1784).
In the closing decades of the seventeenth century a number of writers present fantastic accounts of Gualdi. He was said to possess the Universal Medicine and consequently be over 400 years old, and carried with him his portrait made by Titian who had died 130 years earlier. In 1682 he left Venice, apparently because his growing reputation as an adept led to him being swamped with letters and visits of alchemists eager to question him. He looked like a man in the prime of life but pretended to be ninety. The idea grew that he possessed a panacea that rejuvenated him. He probably returned to Germany and during the first two decades of the 18th century he corresponded on alchemical matters with a number of people. Thirteen of these letters were later published in Leipzig in 1788.
A number of works are attributed to him, De lapide philosophorum, a text in fifty five chapters in German and Latin, the 'Letters', but perhaps the most engaging is the Philosophia Hermetica poem with its series of thirteen emblematic figures.
Limited edition of 100 signed and numbered hardbound copies. 14 coloured illustrations. A5. 50 pages.