W Wynn Westcott’s signed copy of The Lives of the Adepts

Noticed this page about W Wynn Westcott‘s signed copy of Lives of the Adepts pop up online, and thought it would be of interest. Apparently the asking price for this 1814 first edition is £2250.

W Wynn Westcott's signed copy of Lives of the Adepts with detail showing signature


“ANONYMOUS [BARRETT, Francis. attrib.] [WESTCOTT, W. Wynn.] Lives of the Adepts in Alchemystical Philosophy, with a Critical Catalogue of the Books in this Science, and a Selection of the most Celebrated Treatises on the Theory and Practice of the Hermetic Art. London: Lackington, Allen & Co., 1814. [37924 ]

FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE with the 1814 (as opposed to 1815) date and slightly different wording of the title. Octavo (215mm x 130mm) pp. 384, [2 index]. Contemporary half red calf over marbled boards, raised bands with extra gilt and centres to spine and gilt titles to black title label. Marbled endpapers and edges. Bound without the folding plate somtimes found at page 296, and more often in the 1815 issue. Some rubbing to edges and to the gilt on the spine, but the book remains tight and the binding unrestored. Foxing to some leaves, heavier in places, but the majority of pages are clean. Older armorial bookplate of Joseph Swan to front pastedown, partialy covered by a ‘The Westcott Hermetic Library’ label, numbered in ink with ‘213’. W. WYNN WESTCOTT’S INK SIGNATURE, dated 1886, to top of title page and a further signature to the top of page 101. This uncommon first edition has been attributed to Francis Barrett, probably due to being published by Lackington – the publisher of his The Magus (1801). It contains 41 short biographies of Alchemists, an index of Alchemical books (with numerous mistakes, but many rare titles are listed) and most importantly 34 extracts from Alchemical works plus the ‘Emerald Tablet’, some of which are translated into English for the first time. These were unaccountably left out of A. E. Waite’s 1888 edition. Dr. W. Wynn Westcott created his Hermetic Library for members of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, together with Dr. Robert Woodman, who he replaced as Supreme Magus in 1891. When Wescott and Woodman, together with S. L. MacGregor Mathers, founded the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 1888, the library was also made available to members of that order. An interesting association copy of a scarce work.” [via]