Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum

Documenting the Ouroboros Press TCB Project – **Under Construction**


leave a comment »

**[Under Construction]**

This Bibliography is provided as a record of texts consulted during research carried out to complete the new edition of Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum. The entries represented here cover areas of inquiry related to the subjects of alchemy, it’s authors and art as found in the Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum, as well as those relevant to textural studies, typography and book arts.


Additional MS 10,302

Ashmole 971, 972, 1420, 1441, 1445

Egerton 845

Ferguson 191

Harley 2407

Sloane 1171, 2640


• Alchemical and TCB References

Abraham, Lyndy. A Dictionary of Alchemical Imagery. Cambridge. 2001 “The foremost seventeenth-century collection of English alchemical texts is Elias Ashmole’s Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum.”

Adams, Alison & Stanton Linden. Glasgow Emblem Studies Volume 3: Emblems and Alchemy. Glasgow. 1998

Ashmole, Elias. Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum. London. 1652

______________. Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum. Seattle. 2011 Ouroboros Press edition; in preparation.

Debus, Alan, introduction by. Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum. The Sources of Science, No. 39. New York & London. 1967

de Weever, Jacqueline. Chaucer Name Dictionary: A Guide to Astrological, Biblical, Historical, Literary, and Mythological Names in the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. New York & London. 1996

Churton, Tobias. The Magus of Freemasonry: The Mysterious Life of Elias Ashmole – Scientist, Alchemist and Founder of the Royal Society. 2006

Duveen, Denis. Bibliotheca Alchemica et Chemica: An Annotated Catalogue of Printed Books on Alchemy, Chemistry and Cognate Subjects. London. 1949 [on the TCB]: “The most important English alchemical text.”

Huges, Jonathan. Arthurian Myths and Alchemy: The Kingship of Edward IV. Gloucestershire. 2002

MacGregor, Arthur. Ark to Ashmolean: The Story of the Tradescants, Ashmole and the Ashmolean Museum. Oxford. 1997

Pritchard, Alan. Alchemy: A bibliography of English-language writings. London. 1980

Rampling, Jennifer M. The Alchemy of George Ripley, 1470–1700. PhD dissertation, University of Cambridge. 2009

Roberts, Gareth. The Mirror of Alchemy: Alchemical Ideas and Images in Manuscripts and Books from Antiquity to the Seventeenth Century. Toronto. 1994

Roberts, Julian and Andrew G. Watson ed. by. John Dee’s Library Catalogue. (London: Bibliographical Society, 1990), p. 167-8.

Schuler, Robert M. Alchemical Poetry 1575 – 1700 From Previously Unpublished Manuscripts. New York & London. 1995 “Of the fifty-three Middle English alchemical poems now known to survive, Ashmole prints twenty-three, omitting only three of any length or real consequence.”

_______________. English Magical and Scientific Poems to 1700. An Annotated Bibliography. New York. 1979

Dorothea Waley Singer, Annie Anderson, and Robina Addis. Catalogue of Latin and Vernacular Alchemical Manuscripts in Great Britain and Ireland Dating from before the XVI Century, 3 vols (Brussels: Lamertin, 1928-1931), III, 1040-41.

Taylor, F. Sherwood. The Alchemists: Founders of Modern Chemistry. New York. 1949

Timmermann, Anke. The Circulation and Reception of a Middle English Alchemical Poem: The Verses upon the Elixir and the Associated Corpus of Alchemica. PhD Dissertation, University of Cambridge. 2006

Waite. Arthur Edward. Alchemists Through the Ages. New York. 1970

Waite. Arthur Edward. The Secret Tradition in Alchemy: Its Development and Records. London. 1926

Book Arts and Textual References

Báez, Fernando. A Universal History of the Destruction of Books: From Ancient Summer to Modern Iraq. New York. 2008 “without books, there is no memory, and without memory, a culture cannot exist.”

Black, W. H. Catalogue of the MSS. bequeathed unto the University of Oxford by Elias Ashmole. 1845

Bringhurst, Robert. The Elements of Typographic Style. Point Roberts. 2002

Brown, Michelle. A Guide to Western Historical Scripts to 1600. Toronto. 2007

Cosman, Madeleine Pelner. Medieval Wordbook: A Collection of More Than 4,000 Terms and Expressions from Medieval Culture. New York. 2001

Derolez, Albert. Paleography of Gothic Manuscript Books. Cambridge. 2008

De Vinne, Theodore Low. A Treatise on Title-pages; with Numerous Illustrations in Facsimile and Some Observations on the Early and Recent Printing of Books. New York. 1972

Eamon, William. Science and the Secrets of Nature: Books of Secrets in Medieval and Early Modern Culture. Princeton. 1994

Ferguson, John. Bibliographical Notes on Histories of Inventions and Books of Secrets. London. 1981

Goudy, Fredric. Typologia: Studies in Type Design & Type Making. Berkeley. 1940

Johns, Adrian. The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making. Chicago. 1998

Mazzio, Carla. The Inarticulate Renaissance: Language Trouble in an Age of Eloquence. Philadelphia. 2009

Shailor, Barbara A. The Medieval Book. Toronto. 2002


M.K. Corbett, Ashmole and the Pursuit of Alchemy: The Illustrations to the Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum, 1652, The Antiquaries Journal, 63. 1983

Janacek, Bruce.  A Virtuoso’s History: Antiquarianism and the Transmission of Knowledge in the Alchemical Studies of Elias Ashmole. Journal of the History of Ideas – Volume 69, Number 3. Pennsyvania. 2008

Josten, C. H. William Backhouse of Swallowfield. Ambix Vol. IV December, 1949 Nos. 1 and 2. London. 1949

Kahn, Didier.  Alchemical Poetry in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: A Preliminary Survey and Synthesis Part I — Preliminary Survey Ambix Volume 57, Number 3, November 2010. Speaking of Thomas Norton’s Ordinall of alchemy and George Ripley’s Compound of alchymy or Twelve Gates, Kahn explains;  “In scope, these poems encompass all of the aspects of the great work: theory and practice, instructions on furnaces and vessels, or on substances to be avoided, and allegorical accounts intended to convey the most important secrets.”

__________________. Alchemical Poetry in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: A Preliminary Survey and Synthesis Part II -Sythesis Ambix Volume 58, Number 1, March 2011

Schuler, Robert M. Bibliographical Notes: An Alchemical Poem: Authorship and Manuscripts in The Library. Oxford. 1973

__________________. William Blomfild Elizabethan Alchemist. Ambix Vol. XX. London. 1973

Taylor, F. Sherwood. George Ripley’s Song.  Ambix Vol. II December, 1946  No. 3 & 4. London. 1946

__________________. Thomas Charnock.  Ambix Vol. II December, 1946  No. 3 & 4. London. 1946

Wright, C. E. and Ruth C. Wright,  ed. by. The Diary of Humfrey Wanley 1715-1726  2 vol The Bibliographical Society. London.  1966


Written by Ouroboros Press

May 13, 2011 at 8:18 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: