Tag Archives: William Wynn Westcott

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]

Weiser Antiquarian Books Catalogue #99 Dion Fortune, Israel Regardie, and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

You may be interested in Weiser Antiquarian Books Catalogue #99 Dion Fortune, Israel Regardie, and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

“The majority of the books in the catalogue are reference works, and it includes most of the standard studies of the Golden Dawn by scholars like R. A. Gilbert, Ellic Howe, R. A. Torrens and others. It also includes a good selection of first and early editions by Dion Fortune and Israel Regardie, both of whom took their experiences in the Stella Matutina (and in Fortune’s case the Alpha et Omega) and wove them into successful careers as authors

As always there are a few rarities, perhaps the most outstanding of which is Aleister Crowley’s copy of Arthur Machen’s, Hieroglyphics (1902), with Crowley’s ownership signature and a few annotations. The two men had been contemporaries in the Golden Dawn at the turn of the century, and Crowley is known to have been an enthusiast for Machen’s writing, including “The Works of Arthur Machen” in his reading list for students of the A∴ A∴ with the observation that “Most of these stories are of great magical interest.” Also unusual is a set of Israel Regardie’s landmark compilation, The Golden Dawn, An Account of the Teachings, Rites, and Ceremonies of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, (4 Volumes, 1937-1940), complete in the rarely-seen original dustjackets and with an interesting provenance. An even less seldom seen edition by Regardie is the first edition of The Art of True Healing. A Treatise on the Mechanism Prayer, and the Operation of the Law of Attraction in Nature (1937). Another curiosity – with probable Regardie connection – is Fr. Wittemans’ A New & Authentic History of the Rosicrucians (1938), a rather pedestrian history of Rosicrucianism that includes a surprisingly good anonymously-contributed chapter on the Golden Dawn, that appears to have been written by someone with inside knowledge of the Order, the evidence suggesting that this was none other than Israel Regardie.

Quirkier items include the Extra Pharmacopoeia of Martindale and Westcott. Vol. I (Seventeenth Edition, 1920), a well-known reference work “of Unofficial Drugs and Chemical and Pharmaceutical Preparations with reference to their use,” of which W. Wynn Westcott, medical doctor, coroner, Rosicrucian and one of the founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, was co-editor. This edition is particularly interesting as it is one of the last in which Westcott was involved, and for its short sections on “Cocaine and Opium Regulation,” “Cocaine in Dentistry,” “Narcotic Drugs Order,” “Venereal Diseases Act, 1917,” all addressing issues and legislation which had arisen during the First World War. Also somewhat eccentric, at least by modern standards, is Dion Fortune’s study of marriage – by which she means human romantic and sexual relationships – The Esoteric Philosophy of Love and Marriage (1924), here represented by a first edition in the very scarce dustjacket. Odder by far is Lady Queenborough’s Occult Theocrasy (Two Volumes 1933), a bizzare tirade denouncing a Jesuit-Jewish-Masonic-Illuminati-Bolshevik conspiracy aimed at undermining Christianity and achieving world domination, which is nonetheless very useful those interested in the history of the the Golden Dawn, the S.R.I.A., the O.T.O. and fringe Masonry on account of the numerous documents, including facsimiles of a number of letters from William Wynn Westcott to Theodor Reuss, that it reproduces.” [via]