BARBA, Alvaro Alonso.

The Art of Metals, in which is declared the manner of their generation, and the concomitants of them. In two Books. Written in Spanish by Albaro Alonso Barba…in the year, 1640. Translated in the year, 1669. By the R.H. Edward Earl of Sandwich.

London: Printed for S. Mearne…1674

2 volumes in 1, 8vo, pp. (iv), 156; 1 leaf, pp. 91, 1 engraved plate. Without the final blank leaf. Both titles within ruled border. Contemporary mottled calf, rebacked and corners repaired, gilt centres and new red morocco label on spine. Short (2 cm.) tear touching two letters without loss at bottom of I5, some small marks and stains, but a very good copy. Early signatures of George Bullock of Yeovil on p. 1, George Stoddon on last blank page, and of W. Parish on front pastedown.

Second edition in English of the first two Books of this celebrated treatise on mining and metallurgy, the first significant work on the subject in Spanish, and the first work on mining in the Americas. The first Book deals with the generation of metals and things accompanying them, and the second with the extraction of silver by mercury. It also includes the earliest special chapter on petroleum products (Book I, ch. 9) in Peru and elsewhere. The methods of extraction that Barba himself discovered were in large part responsible for the vast wealth that Spain gained from Peru. The book was kept secret in Spain, but when the Earl of Sandwich was Ambassador to Spain, he obtained a copy and translated two of the five books and had them published by Samuel Mearne, the royal bookbinder and publisher. Wing B678 and 682. Another issue (or possibly edition) of the first Book has the title The First Book of the Art of Mettals. Duveen p. 42; Neville I, p. 70 (both with the alternate title). Hoover catalogue 83. Sabin 3254. Norman catalogue 115. No complete English edition of all five Books was done until 1923.


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