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Bernard Palissy
PALISSY, Bernard.

PALISSY, Bernard.
(c1510 - 1590)

(Born: Agen, in southern France, c1510; Died: Paris, France, 1590) French geologist.

Palissy was a technical chemist and potter, and self taught naturalist. He was trained in the manufacture and decoration of stained glass windows. After his apprenticeship, Palissy traveled throughout France. He was fascinated by the various soils and stones and immediately took up the study of chemistry. He studied chemistry in the labs of alchemists and pharmacists.His interest in collecting mineralogical specimens was inspired by his interest in developing new colored glasses for his pottery.

Palissy converted to Protestantism in about 1546. He was one of the first Huguenots in Saintes, and was much persecuted for his religion. He joined with other artists to form a reformed church. Although a warrant of arrest was issued as early as 1558 for this group of artists, Palissy was imprisoned in Bordeaux in 1562. He was released through the influence of the queen mother. In 1588, soon after religious warfare once more broke out in France, he was again imprisoned. He was taken to the Conciergerie, then transferred to the Bastille, where he died.

Biographical references: ABF: I 804, 227-338; II 499, 356-380. Bryan's Dictionary of Painters, 1903-4. DSB: 10, ??. Dupuy, Bernard Palissy, l'homme, l'artiste, l'savant,l'ecrivain. Paris, 1894. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition. Feller, Biographie Universelle, 1851. Leroux, D., La vie de Bernard Palissy, 1927. Nouvelle Biographie Générale (Hoefer). Poggendorff: 2, col. 347. WBI.

Discovrs Admirables, 1580

1. Latin, 1580 [First edition].
Discovrs Ad- | mirables, De La Na- | tvre Des Eavx Et Fon- | Teines, Tant Natvrelles Qv'Ar- | tificielles, des metaux, des sels & salines, des | pierres, des terres, du seu & des emaux. | Avec plvsievrs avtres excel- | lens secrets des choses naturelles. | Plvs vn traité de la marne, fort | vtile & necessaire, pour ceux qui se mellent de | l'agriculture. | Le tovt dressé par dialogves, es- | quels sont introduits la theorique & la practi- | que. | Par M. Bernard Palissy, inuenteur des rustiques | figulines du Roy, & de la Roynesa mere. | A Treshavt, Et Trespvissant | sieur le fire Anthoine de Ponts, Cheualier des ordres | du Roy, Capitaine des cents gentils-hommes, & con- | seillet tresidele de sa maiesté. | A Paris, | Chez Martin le Ieune, à l'enseigne du Serpent, | deuant le college de Cambray. | 1580. | Avec Privilege Dv Roy.

8°: *8 A-Z8 2A8 (*3 missigned a3); 200l.; [16], 1-361, [23] p. Page size: 160 x 102 mm.

Contents: [1 pg], Title page.; [1 pg], `Extrait Dv Privilege."; [7 pgs], "A Treshavt Et Tres- | puissant sieur le fire Antoine de Ponts, ..."; [5 pgs], "Advertissement | aux Lecteurs."; [1 page], "Depvis ..."; [1 pg], "Les Principavx Points."; 1-361, Text.; [16 pgs], "Extrait Des Sentences."; [7 pgs], "Explication Des Mots."

Very rare. Duveen calls this an "extremely rare and a book of great importance in the history of chemistry and science generally." A skilled potter, Palissy first became famous for making rustic enameled earthenware, an art which earned him the position of "inventeur des rustiques figurines du Roy". In 1575, despite his lack of formal education, he began lecturing on natural history. He was thus one of the first men to teach natural science from facts, demonstarations and specimens rather than theroy. Written in the form of a dialogue between "Théorique" and "Pratique", the Discours covers a wide range of subjects, the most important of which are those on hydrology and paleontolgy. "An early supporter of the infiltration theory, he denied that rivers and streams had any source other than rainfall. He also recognised the relation between fossils and both living and extint species, and was one of the first to hold a reasonably correct view of the process of petrification." Norman. The rarity of this work was already mentioned by Brunet and confirmed by Duveen, but Ferguson's inscription in his copy purchased in 1889 is best: "At last, after long, long waiting and watching."

Bibliographical references: Adams, Birth and Development, 1938: 90, 261 & 446-8. Catalogue of the Ferguson Collection of Books: 1, viii & 2, p. 509. Duveen, Bibliotheca Alchemica et Chemica, 1965: p. 446. Freilich Sale Catalog: no. 419. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 1, 31 & 2, 48. Hoover Collection: no. 621. LKG: III 28. Norman Catalog: 2, ??, no. 1629. Norman Sale Catalog: 1:144. Thorndike, History of Magic, 1923-58: 5, 596-9. Wilson, History of Mineral Collecting, 1994: 22-3 [portait].

2. French, 1636 [2nd edition].
Le | Moyen | De Devenir Riche, | Et | La Maniere Veritable, | par laquelle rous les hommes de la | France pourront apprendre à mul- | tiplier & augmenter leurs thre- | sors & possessions. | Avec Plvsievrs Avtres | excellens secrets des choses natu- | relles, desquels insques à present | l'on n'a ouy parler. | Par Maistre Bernard Palissy de | Xaintes Ouurier de terre & Inuen- | teur des Rustiques Figulines | du Roy. | [ornament] | A Paris, | Chez Robert Foüet, ruë S. Iacques | à l'Occasion deuant les Mathurins. | [rule] | M. DC. XXVI. | Avec Privilege dv Roy.

[Title page, second part, reads:]

Seconde Partie | Dv Moyen | De Devenir Riche, | Contenant Les Discovrs | Adirables de la Nature des eaux & Fontaines, tant Natvrelles qv ar- | tificielles des Fleuues, Puits Cister- | nes, Estãgs, Marez & autres Eaux dou- | ces de leur origine, bonté, & autres | qualitez. | De L'Alchimie Des Me- | taux, de l'Or potable, du Mitridat, des | glaces, des sels vegetatifs ou generatifs, | du sel commun. Description des Marez | salans. Des pierres tant communes, que pre- | tieuses. Des causes de leur generation, for- | mes, couleur, pesanteur & qualitès a'icel- | des, des terres d'argille, de l'art, de la texte, de son vtilité, & du seu, de la mar- | ne, & le moyen de la cognoistre. | Par M. Bernard Palissy Inuen- | teur des Rustiques sigulines du Roy. | [ornament] | A Paris, | Chez Robert Foüet, ruë S. Iacques | à l'Occasion deuant les Mathurins. | [rule] | M. DC. XXXVI. | Avec Privilege dv Roy.

2 parts bound in one volume. [Part 1] 8°: ã8 A-N8; 137l.; [16], 1-255, [3] p. [Part 2] 8°: ã8 A-I8 2K7; 271l.; [16], 1-526 p. Woodcut headpieces and initials. Page size: 164 x 104 mm.

Contents: [Part 1] [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [10 pgs], "Epistre | De L'Avthevr | Av Pevple François"-signed Bernard Palissy.; [1 pg], "Les | Principavx Traitez | de ce Livre."; [1 pg], "FB. A.M. Bernard Palissy, ..."; [1 pg], "Av Lectevr. Salut."; [1 pg], "Extraict du Priuilege du Roy."; 1-255, Text.; [3 pgs], Blanks.

[Part 2] [2 pgs], Title page, vers blank.; [7 pgs], "A Treshavt Et Tres- | puissant sieur le fire ..."; [5 pgs], "Advertissement | aux Lecteurs."; [1 pg], "Des Principavx Points, | traitez en celiure."; [1 pg], Blank.; [1]-526, Text.

Scarce. Second edition of each part, first under this title. This is the earliest suggestion that France's economic problems could be solved through technology. This volume contains the second editions of Palissy's two major works, the extremely rare Recepte Veritable (1st ed., La Rochelle, 1563) and the Discours Admirables.

The first part, from the Recepte Veritable deals with agriculture, forestry, gardening and fortification. The second is essentially a reprint with some corrections of the Discours Admirables, and discusses a range of topics in hydrology, geology, paleontology, mineralogy, engineering, chemistry and medicine.

Bibliographical references: Freilich Sale Catalog: no. 421. NUC. Ward & Carozzi, Geology Emerging, 1984: no. 1718. Wellcome Catalog (Books): 1, no. 4699.

3. French, 1777 [3rd edition].
Œuvres | De | Bernard Palissy. | Revues Sur Les Exemplaires | De La Bibliotheque Du Roi, | Avec Des Notes. | Par MM. Fauias de Saint Fond, Et Gobet. | [ornament] | A Paris, | Chez Rualt, Libraire, rue de la Harpe. | [ornate rule] | Avec Approbation & Privilege du Roi, | 1777.

4°: π23-4 missing] a-h4 i2 A-Yyyy4 Zzzz3; 405l.; [i]-xxvj (i.e., lxxvj), [1]-734 p. The copy examined was missing the portrait of Benjamin Franklin by Saint-Aubin after Cochin and the rare supressed dedication to Benjamin Franklin. Page size: 254 x 188 mm.

Contents: [i-ii], Half title page, "Œuvres | De | Bernard Palissay."; [iii-iv], Title page, verso "Sed cum in officinis Artistarum, ..."; [v-viii], [missing from copy examined; Dedication to Benjamin Franklin and a portrait of Benjamin Franklin].; [ix]-xiij, "Avertissement."; xiv, "Table Des Traités."; xv-xxx, "Recherches | Sur | Bernard Palissy."; xxj-lxvj, "Extraits | Des Principaux Auteurs | Qui Ont Parlé | De Palissy."; [lxvii-lxviii], "Approbation."; lxix-lxxij, "A Tres-Haut Et Tres-Puissant | Sieur le Sire Antoine de Pons."; lxxij-xxvj (i.e., lxxvj), "Advertissement | Aux Lecteurs."; [1]-720, Text.; 721-734, Table | Des Matieres.

Scarce. Edited by Barthélemi Faujas de Saint-Fond and Nicolas Gobet.

Bibliographical references: Brunet: 4, 320. Caillet, Manuel, 1912: no. 8265. Freilich Sale Catalog: no. 420. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 1, 31. LKG: III 29. Norman Catalog: 2:1630. Ward & Carozzi, Geology Emerging, 1984: no. ??.

4. French, 1844 [Works].
Œuveres Complètes | De | Bernard Palissy, | Édition | Conforme Aux Textes Originaux | Imprimés Du Vivant De L'Auteur; | Avec | Des Notes Et Une Notice Historique | Par Paul-Antoine Cap. | [ornament] | Paris, | J.-J. Dubochet Et Cie, Éditeurs, | Rue De Seine, 33. | [short rule] | 1844.

8°: [2], [i]-xxxix, [1], [1]-437, [1] p.

Contents: [2 pgs], Half title page, "Œuvres Complètes | De | Bernard Palissy," verso "Paris, Imprimé Par Béthune Et Plon."; [i-ii], Title page, verso blank.; [iii], Dedication to Alexandre Brongniart, signed P.-A. Cap.; [iv], Blank.; [v]-xxxix, "Notice Historique | Sur | La Vie Et Les Ouvrages De Bernard Palissy."; [1 pg], "Table Sommaire."; [1], "Recepte Véritable | ..."; [2], "... A.M. Bernard Palissy."; [3]-432, Text.; [433]-437, "Table Alphabétique."; [1 pg], Blank.

Rare Edited by Paul A.G. Cap. This contains a long life of Palissy, together with a translation with commentary of his works.

Bibliographical references: NUC.

5. French, 1863.
Discours admirable de l'art de terre, de son utilite, des esmaux et du feu. Geneve, Imprimerie de Jules-Guillaume Fick, 1863.

8°: 44 p. (Introduction by Gustave Revilliod). Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: NUC.

6. English, 1858 [Biography].
Palissy the Huguenot Potter, a true tale by C.L. Brightwell. Philadelphia, [1858].

8°: 169 p., illus. Page size: 178 x 122 mm.

Very scarce. Painstakingly researched and lavishly illustrated throughout with beautifully engraved plates, the work work captures the fascinating life and history of Bernard Palissy. Published in Philadelphia by the Presbyterian Board of Publication, (no date, preface is dated 1858).

Bibliographical references: NUC.

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