In Pursuit of Gold
New York: Samuel Weiser, 1976. Octavo. Brown buckram and textured beige paper covered boards in an unclipped pictorial dust wrapper. 176 pages. First edition. Fine.
Writing under the nom de plume of Lapidus, David Curwen (1893-1984) was one of the most mysterious personalities of modern alchemysticism, and one of the very few practicing laboratory alchemists residing in the United Kingdom during the latter half of the 20th century. Upon its publication in 1976, In Pursuit of Gold—written by the enigmatic Lapidus—was hailed as a rare work by one of the few practicing laboratory alchemists writing in English during the mid-to-late 20th century. Primarily building upon three alchemical texts—namely The Sophic Fire by John Pontanus, The Secret Book of Artephius and Sir George Ripley’s long poem, Twelve Gates—and more than two dozen of Theodor de Bry’s masterful engraved emblems from Michael Maier’s 1618 Atalanta Fugiens, Lapidus proffers his own observations and practical conclusions drawn from decades of quiet alchemical work in his subterranean Melcombe Street laboratory.
"Owing to the disparagement cast on the art of alchemy in modern times by those who have failed to unearth its secrets, it has been by-passed by science, and has become obscured to the point where few people even clearly understand what it stands for."