Arts and sciences; chemistry.
[England], 1777. Collection of recipes (numbered 1-253 with many errors) for alchemical and practical applications such as making candles, butter, varnish, many types of ink (including a recipe for "magic ink", p. 201), sealant for waterproofing shoes (p. 15), cement for mending broken china or glass (p. 205), and occasional medicinal uses such as preventing yellow fever (p. 158). Alchemical recipes include instructions for turning white sapphires into diamonds (p. 208), creating artificial diamonds (p. 193) and artificial pearls (p. 206), creating a powder that burns green (p. 160), and how to give new colors (p. 85) or new fragrances (p. 87) to flowers. Other instructions include a method for preserving animals such as dogs and horses at the size they were at birth (p. 183), purifying water (p. 15), sending secret letters written on the inside of an egg (p. 185-186), how to wash fleecy hosiery (p. 191), and predicting whether a sick person will live or die (p. 135). A printed clipping for how to grow radishes has been pasted in (p. 118) and a print of a plan for a smelting furnace has been laid into the manuscript. Also includes an alphabetical index (p. v-xxviii) and 7 leaves laid into the manuscript with additional recipes such as a remedy for scurvy and a recipe for iron gall ink. One leaf written in French for a recipe for magic ink (Gibraltar, 15 May 1795).
Manuscript 118 leaves : paper ; 238 x 181 (205 x 130) mm. bound to 245 x 195 mm. + 7 leaves. Ms. codex. Title from title page (p. i). Pagination: Paper, 118 leaves; [i-xxviii], 1-154, 156-209; contemporary pagination in ink, modern pagination in pencil, upper outer corners. Layout: Written in 20 long lines. Script: Written in a cursive script in the hand of Charles Rainsford (autographed note, p. i) with notes in additional hands. Decoration: Engraved diagram of a plan for a smelting furnace (originally laid into the manuscript between p. 191-192); red ink throughout. Binding: Contemporary suede, spine badly deteriorated, upper hinge splitting. Origin: Written in England in 1777 (p. i).
Formerly owned by Charles Rainsford (British army officer, fellow of the Royal Society, and alchemist); bequeathed by Rainsford to Hugh Percy, Second Duke of Northumberland (note, p. i). Owned by the 2nd through 12th Dukes of Northumberland, ms. 573A, Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, 1809-2014. Sold at auction at Sotheby's (London), 15 July 2014, as part of Lot 411.
Location of Composition
Kislak Center for Special Collections - Manuscripts. Oversize Ms. Codex 1661