Gesner, Conrad (1516-1565) The Newe Iewell of Health, wherein is Contayned the Most Excellent Secretes of Phisicke and Philosophie, Devided into Fower Bookes. London: by Henrie Denham, 1576. First edition, quarto, large woodcut on title, illustrated with numerous text woodcuts throughout, including three large woodcuts on each of the three divisional titles, later calf, a.e.g., 7 1/2 x 5 in.
This English translation of Gesner's Thesaurus Euonymi Philiatri de remediis secretis, first published in Latin in 1552, takes as its subject the chemical preparation of medicines by distillation. George Baker, the family physician of the de Veres wrote the translation, and dedicated his work to Anne Cecil de Vere, Countess of Oxford, whose arms appear on the verso of the title-page. Baker contends that his translation was intentionally opaque "I would not have every ignorant asse to be made a chirurgian by my book, for they would do more harm with it than good."
The Newe Iewell of Health plays a part in the Anti-Stratfordian conspiracies surrounding Shakespeare's identity. Those who promote Edward de Vere, 17th Earl Oxford as the true Shakespeare draw a connection between George Baker's presence in the de Vere household, and Sonnet 119's allusions to alchemical apparatus illustrated in this book.
A/*4, A-Y8, Aa-Ll8, Mm2.
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