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Johan Isaäc Hollandus
HOLLANDUS, Johan Isaäc.

HOLLANDUS, Johan Isaäc.

Dutch alchemist.

Thought to be contemporary with Basilius Valentinus, Hollandus and his son are probably inventions, and never actually lived. They are said to be the first alchemists of Holland, and their techniques praised by Paracelsus, Boyle, and Kunckel. They are said to have lived in the fifteenth century because they do not cite any later authority, but no evidence has ever been found as to their true identity.

Biographical references: Aa, Biographisch Woordenboek, 1852-78: 9, 33. Lippmann, E.O., "Über die unter dem Namen der `Hollandi' bekannten Alchemisten", Chemische Zeitung, 43, (1919), no. 58, 265-7, no. 61, 286-8 & no. 63, 301-3. Lippmann, E.O., "Über das Zeitalter der Alchemisten J.I. und I. Hollandus", Chemische Zeitung, 40, (1916), nos. 85-86, 605. Lippmann, E.O., "Zur Kenntnis der `Hollandi' genannten Alchemisten", Chemische Zeitung, 57, (1933), no. 24, 233. Moerman, J.D., "Uit alchemistische geschriften. Isaac en Johan Issac Hollandus", Chemische Weekblad, 29, (1932), no. 49, 702-9. Partington, History of Chemistry, 1961-70: 2, 203-8. Stillman, Story of Early Chemistry, 1924: p. 368-367. Sudhoff, Karl., "Bibliographie Isaaks und Johann Isaaks, der `Holländer'," Sudhoffs Archiv, 27 (1934), p. 45-50, 5 figs. Waite, Lives of Alchemystical Philosophers,: p. 123-124. WBI.

1. Latin, 1600 [First edition].
Magistri Joannis Isaaci Hollandi ... Opera Mineralia, sive de Lapide Philosophico, omnia, duobus libris comprehensa. Nunquam antehac edita, ac nunc primùm ex optimis manu-scriptis Teutonicis exemplaribus fidelissimè in Latinum sermonem translata, à P.M.G., Middelburg, Richardus Schilders, 1600.

8°: A-Ee8; 224l.; [16], [1]-431, [1] p. With dozens of small woodcut illustrations in the text, 2 woodcut initial letters, one woodcut tailpiece, cast fleurons, and roman and italic type.

Very scarce. A classic among the alchemical texts, although the authorship is doubtful. It is written in a canting alchemical and almost unreadable. (Partington) "Of the person or persons called Hollandus very little is known. By those who consider them two persons, Isaac is regarded as the father and John Isaac as the son...The dates assigned to the Hollands are very various. They have been put in the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries...Boerhaave said: 'they describe all the operations to the most minute circumstances..., write excellently of distillation, fermentation, putrefaction, and their effects, and seem to have understood at least as much of these matters as any of the moderns'." They describe very skillful operations in enameling and in imitating precious stones. The first edition of any work by the mysterious Johannes Isaac Hollandus, a Latin translation of a German manuscript of his treatises on mineralogy, alchemy and the philosopher's stone, and especially on the use of metal oxides to colour stones and crystals to make fake gems and precious stones. The charming little woodcuts show distilling and other equipment. The preliminaries include verses by the Zeeland notables Petrus Hondius, Enoch Sterthemius, and Cornelis Herls (d. 1625), and a 12-page dedication to Count Everard of Solms. The first and most important edition by the mysterious Hollandus, and a lovely little book with instructions for making fake gems and precious stones.

Bibliographical references: BL [8907.a.26]. Duveen, Bibliotheca Alchemica et Chemica, 1965: p. 300. Ferguson, Bibliotheca Chemica, 1906: 1, 412 [no copy in the Young collection]. Honeyman Sale: no. 1761. LKG: III 37. Neu, Chemical, Medical & Pharmaceutical Books, 1965: no. 2073. Partington, History of Chemistry, 1961-70: 2, 203-8. Patai, Raphael., The Jewish alchemists: A history and source book. Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press, c1994. xiv, 617 p., illus [p. 289-292]. Shaaber, Sixteenth Century Imprints, 1976: H-162. Sinkankas, Gemology Bibliography, 1993 [not listed]. Sudhoff, Karl., "Bibliographie Isaaks und Johann Isaaks, der `Holländer'," Sudhoffs Archiv, 27 (1934), p. 45-50, 5 figs: p. 46. Wellcome Catalog (Books): 1, no. 3431.

2. Latin, 1616.
D. magistri Ioannis Isaaci ... Opera mineralia, et vegetabilia, sive De lapide philosophico, quæ reperire potuimus, omnia. Nunquam antehac edita, ac nunc primum ex optimis manuscripts teutonicis exemplaribus fidelissime in latinumsermonem conuersa. Arnhemii: Apud Ioannem Iansonium, 1616.

8°: A8 2A8 B-E8 F4 2B-2F8 G-2E8; 268l.; [16], 88, 431 p., title vignette, head- and tailpieces, illus., diagrs. Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: BL [1033.d.6]. Hoefer, Histoiré de la Chimie, 1866-9: 1, 478. Hoover Collection: no. 443 [under Isaac]. LKG: III 37.

3. German, 1746 [2nd edition].
Sammlung unterschiedlicher bewährter Chymischer Schriften, ... Hand der Philosophen, Opus Saturni, Opera Vegetabilia, Opus Minerale, Cabala, de Lapide Philosophico, Nebst einem Tractat von den Irrgängen derer Alchymisten, Auctoris incerti, neue und verbesserte Auflage. Vienna, Johann Paul Krauß, 1746.

10 parts in 1 volume. 8vo. Title in red and black, 5 half-titles, 16 full-page engraved plates, several woodcut illustrations in text.

Very rare. Very rare second edition of collection of alchemical works in German by mysterious Johannes Isaac Hollandus. There are many uncertainties about his person. Firstly, it is unclear whether there is one Hollandus, Johannes Isaaci, or two persons, Johannes and Isaac. The date has long been a matter of controversy, but most scholars now maintain the latter half of the sixteenth or the beginning seventeenth century. The confusion was caused by the great similarity to Paracelsan writings, who was accused by some of having plagiarized Hollandus. It has now been established that Hollandus wrote after Paracelsus but wanted to pretend that he antedated his writings. He therefore omitted any mention of sixteenth century authorities, because Paracelsus died in 1541. According to Partington, p. 207, Hollandus writes in a "canting alchemical style," "some of the recipes are clearly described," and furthermore that Hollandus believed that "each metal contains in its interior the principle of the tincture of gold and silver and when the elixir is projected on the metal this principle comes to the surface and colours the metal yellow or white." According to Ferguson, the present work was first published in Frankfurt in 1667, in an edition of 384 pages. This is the greatly enlarged (752 pages), second edition.

Bibliographical references: Ferguson, Bibliotheca Chemica, 1906: 1, 413-4. Partington, History of Chemistry, 1961-70: 2, 203-8. Stillman, Story of Early Chemistry, 1924: p. 368-71.

4. German, 1666 [German transl.].
Das Dritte Theil Des Mineral-Wercks Johannis Isaci Hollandi, Darinn die Figuren seiner geheimen Oefen und etlicher andern Gefässen und Instrumenten enthalten ... Franckfurt, Götze, 1666.

8°: 171 p., 4 engraved plates (showing 25 figures). Printer's mark on the title.

Rare. Translated and edited by Benedikt Nikolaus Petraeus.

Bibliographical references: BL [1034.b.15. (I)]. Duveen, Bibliotheca Alchemica et Chemica, 1965: p. 301 [dates the work 1666]. STC: D-793. Wellcome Catalog (Books): 4, 346.

Sammlung Unterschiedlicher, 1773

5. German, 1773 [German transl.].
Sammlung | unterschiedlicher bewährter | Chymischer | Schriften, | namentlich: | Joh. Isaaci Hollandi | Hand der Philosophen, | Opus Saturni, Opera Vegetabilia, Opus Mi- | nerale, Cabala, de Lapide Philosophico, | Nebst einem Tractat | von den Irrgängen derer Alchymisten, | Auctoris incerti, | neue und verbesserte Auflage, | mit gehörigem Fleiße übersehen, | und | mit einem Verzeichnüs derer in jeglichem | Tractat befindlichen wichtigsten Materien | vermehret, | wie auch mit nöthigen Kupfern gezieret. | [rule] | Wien | In Verlag bey Joh. Paul Krauß, Buchhändler | 1773.

8°: )(8 A-Aaa8 ($5 signed); 389l.; [16], 1-762 p. (pages 129-138 & 425-426 omitted in the pagination). Rare.

Bibliographical references: Mellon, Alchemy and the Occult, 1968-77: no. 157.

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