Splendor Solis

British Library




Shelf mark: British Library, Harley 3469.
Date: 1582.
Size: 230 x 330 mm.
Provenance: Germany
100 pages, 22 full-page miniatures.
Bound in dark crimson leatherwith gilt border.
Full-colour commentary volume (188 p.) by Jörg Völlnagel (Art historian, research associate at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin), Thomas Hofmeier (Historian of Alchemy, Institut für Geschichte und Hermeneutik der Geheimwissenschaften, Basel), Peter Kidd (Former curator of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts at the Bodleian and British Libraries) and Joscelyn Godwin (Professor of Music, Colgate University, New York).
Unique and unrepeatable first edition, strictly limited to 987 numbered and authenticated copies.
ISBN: 978-84-96400-69-6

Splendor Solis British Library British Library

Shelf mark: British Library, Harley 3469.
Date: 1582.
Size: 230 x 330 mm.
Provenance: Germany
100 pages, 22 full-page miniatures.
Bound in dark crimson leatherwith gilt border.
Full-colour commentary volume (188 p.) by Jörg Völlnagel (Art historian, research associate at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin), Thomas Hofmeier (Historian of Alchemy, Institut für Geschichte und Hermeneutik der Geheimwissenschaften, Basel), Peter Kidd (Former curator of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts at the Bodleian and British Libraries) and Joscelyn Godwin (Professor of Music, Colgate University, New York).
Unique and unrepeatable first edition, strictly limited to 987 numbered and authenticated copies.
ISBN: 978-84-96400-69-6





Commentary volume

Splendor Solis British Library


Contents:
From the Editor to the Reader

Introduction
Jörg Völlnagel (Art historian, research associate at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin)

The Alchemy of the Splendor Solis
Thomas Hofmeier (Historian of Alchemy, Institut für Geschichte und Hermeneutik der Geheimwissenschaften, Basel)

The Origins of the Splendor Solis
Jörg Völlnagel

The Provenance of the Harley Splendor Solis
Peter Kidd (Former curator of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts at the Bodleian and British Libraries)

Commentaries on the Twenty-two Paintings
Jörg Völlnagel

Translation of the text
Joscelyn Godwin (Professor of Music, Colgate University, New York)

Appendix
Bibliography
ISBN 978-84-96400-68-9






Description

Splendor Solis British Library


The Splendor Solis codex dated 1582 and housed in the British Library, London, is the most beautiful treatise on alchemy ever made. The imagination and lyricism of its truly marvellous illustrations are awe-inspiring even to those not familiar with this subject. This sumptuously illustrated treatise has been traditionally, although wrongly, attributed to Salomon Trismosin, possibly a pen name of Ulrich Poysel, the master of the legendary Paracelsus. The secrets of kabbalah, astrology and alchemic symbolism are revealed on 22 folios bearing full-page illustrations with a wealth of colour and almost Baroque profusion of detail.

This manuscript features 22 large paintings surrounded by floral or animal motifs belonging to the North-European style of Renaissance miniature. Like the context and the contents of book itself, all the illustrations are impenetrable and difficult to understand. Particularly noteworthy are the now famous Glaskolben or glass flasks depicted in a lavish painting in the centre, surrounded by typical town and country scenes of late medieval Germany beneath a celestial image of a pagan god that seems to endow the image as a whole with unity and meaning.    

The motifs in each glass flask– allegorical and poetically suggestive images characterised by boundless imagination – represent the splendour of Trismosin’s mystical knowledge, gleaned, he says, from «kabbalistic and magical books». Indeed, in a covert and yet precise manner this cryptic and strangely poetic treatise conveys the secrets of the elements in nature, along with their combinations, blends, powers and influences. 

The codex has 100 pages written in German in a dainty, German Gothic script. The text is embellished with enormous, lavishly decorated initials that are, in themselves, a delight to behold.

The tale of the codex itself is equally interesting. John Evelyn, the court painter of Charles II of England, saw what is known today as «Harley 3469» in the library at Whitehall Palace on September 2nd 1680. He described it as containing «the processes for the Great Elixir of philosophers» and that it was embellished with paintings of great beauty. It was subsequently acquired by the German theologian Johann Cyprianus, thanks to whose heirs it entered the private library of that patron of artists, the powerful, aristocratic and eminently bibliophile Harley family. The British Library bought it in 1753 for the now derisory sum of 10,000 pounds. It is now considered to be one of its most valuable treasures. Not for nothing is the Splendor Solis the most beautiful and splendid treatise on alchemy ever made.



Customer reviews
Splendor Solis
British Library





“UPS hat pünktlich geliefert. Das Paket ist wohlbehalten angekommen.
Die Edition ist wirklich fantastisch. Die Wartezeit hat sich wahrlich gelohnt.
Die Ausführung ist - wie immer und nicht anders erwartet - handwerklich perfekt.
Der Einband mit den Vorsätzen aus Seide ist wunderschön gemacht.
Und jedes Blatt ein Meisterwerk. Vor allem natürlich die illuminierten Seiten mit der Wiedergabe der verschiedenen Goldarten und den kräftigen Farben.
Ich bin ausserordentlich zufrieden und freue mich jedesmal, wenn ich ein Faksimile von ihnen (es sind ja über die Zeit schon einige zusammengekommen) in die Hand nehme und Seite für Seite betrachte. Ich bin schon gespannt auf Ihre weiteren Projekte.”

Frank B. – Germany



“I already have the Splendor Solis and it’s stunningly beautiful. I play with it nearly every day and I’m deeply grateful to Moleiro for publishing such a beauty. (...) Be sure that if I had more money, I would buy from you all what you have.”

Robert F. – Slovakia




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