Traité de la Chymie

Nicaise Le Fèvre, Paris, 1660 (Google Books)

Lister recorded reading this work in January 1664/5.

Le Fèvre (1610-1669) was an apothecary and a Protestant refugee who died in London in 1669. Trained in the Calvinist academy of Sedan, he was an apprentice in his father’s shop and became a master apothecary.  He then moved to Paris, offering private courses, where he enjoyed the patronage of physician Samuel Duclos, who established the chemical laboratory and research program at the Parisian Royal Academy of Sciences (est. 1666)

Le Fèvre became demonstrator in chemistry at the Jardin du Roi in 1652, and shortly after became a royal apothecary.  In 1660, Charles II of England asked Le Fèvre to England to become Royal Professor of Chemistry and Apothecary to the King’s Household.

The Traité was a textbook of medicinal preparations, reflective of Le Fèvre’s attempt to ‘reposition chemistry as essential to an understanding of natural philosophy‘.  His work was translated into English in 1664.

Reading the Traité was not only preparation for his medical career.  Lister himself would develop elaborate chymical theories concerning the emanations of iron and copper pyrites and their effects in the natural world.

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