Authors/Gaston Duclo

From Theatrum Paracelsicum

Personal Bibliography

Dedications, Prefaces, Postfaces

Source: Gaston Duclo, Apologia argyropoeiae et chrysopoeiae, Nevers: Pierre Roussin, 1592, sig. A2r–B3v = pag. 3–14 [BP.Duclo.1590-01]
Duclo emphasizes the importance of obedience from the people to their Prince as the foundation of a stable and enduring society. He commends the Duke for his fervent defense of the Catholic faith, which has flourished throughout his province, and highlights the Duke's benevolence towards his people, particularly in Nevers. Duclo details the Duke's contributions, including appointing just magistrates, advocating for the relief of burdensome taxes, and curbing the excesses of soldiers, which have brought peace and prosperity to the region, contrasting sharply with the turmoil experienced elsewhere in France during these troubled times.
Duclo recounts the Duke's personal intervention after the death of King Henry IV of France, which brought stability and security back to the province, sparing it from the widespread violence and lawlessness that plagued other areas. He praises the Duke's paternal benevolence, reflected in various civic improvements and the promotion of education and the arts, such as the establishment of a Jesuit college and the exemption of the city from certain taxes, which has led to a thriving community of artisans and craftsmen. Duclo also mentions the Duke's efforts to make the city more attractive for building and habitation by addressing feudal burdens.
Despite these vast contributions, Duclo states that the Duke asks for nothing in return but the rightful obedience and unanimous support of his people. Duclo personally commits to fulfilling the Duke's commands and expresses his intention to dedicate his work on alchemy (Argyropoeia and Chrysopoeia) to the Duke, defending the validity of the art against critics like Thomas Erastus and emphasizing the pursuit of knowledge over material gain.
Source: Gaston Duclo, De recta et vera ratione progignendi Lapidis Philosophici ... Dilucida & compendiosa explicatio, Nevers: Pierre Roussin, 1592, sig. A2r–B2v = pag. 3–12 [BP.Duclo.1592-01]
Duclo expresses admiration for the marble works crafted by Thomas Tollet, a skilled sculptor and architect from Liège, who undertook considerable risks to travel to France during tumultuous times to serve the Dukes of Nevers, who are related to Ernest. The works, made of diverse marbles from Liège, have been greatly appreciated by the local nobility, particularly for their artistic merit and the rapid completion of projects that exceeded all expectations.
Tollet's contributions include the decoration of the altar in the church of Saint Quiricus in Nevers and the construction of a marble oratory station near the burial place of the illustrious Dukes, alongside completing and installing statues and images. His work is so esteemed that it has led to his name being engraved on these creations to ensure his legacy. Duclo notes that Ernest's support has enabled the region to benefit from Tollet's exceptional talents, which are recognized far and wide, with many seeking his services.
Duclo also delves into a personal encounter with Tollet, discussing his character and hinting at Tollet's possible knowledge of alchemy, specifically the creation of the philosopher's stone. Despite Tollet's modesty and dedication to his craft rather than alchemical pursuits, his experiences, including witnessing the transformation of mercury into gold in Ernest's presence, lend credibility to the legends surrounding the philosopher's stone.
In closing, Duclo expresses his decision to dedicate his writings on alchemy and the philosopher's stone to Ernest, motivated by Ernest's benevolence towards the esoteric and a personal connection with Tollet. He emphasizes the importance of keeping such profound knowledge from the unworthy, highlighting the significance of a specially designed furnace Tollet built under Duclo's guidance, crucial for achieving the alchemical transformation.
Source: Gaston Duclo, De triplici praeparatione argenti et auri, Nevers: Pierre Roussin, 1592, sig. A2r–A2v [BP.Duclo.1592-02] [see also BP.Duclo.1602-02]
This text is a dedication from Gaston Dulco to Jacques de La Fin, a nobleman distinguished by his contributions both in warfare and in patronage of the arts and sciences, particularly in alchemy. Dulco expresses deep admiration for Jacques, acknowledging his noble lineage, military valor, and his unwavering support for scholars and the pursuit of knowledge, especially in the transformation of metals. Despite Jacques' involvement in significant military engagements, such as the defense against Spanish forces at Lagniaco, his interest in and support for alchemical studies have remained a notable aspect of his character. Dulco laments the numerous failed attempts and false promises experienced by Jacques in his quest for alchemical success, funded at great personal expense. However, Dulco remains hopeful, suggesting that perseverance through trials often leads to success. He offers to share his recent findings with Jacques, dedicating his work to him with the promise of demonstrating practical applications of gold preparation. The letter, dating from September 1, 1594, in Nevers, reflects the Renaissance era's blend of martial prowess, noble patronage, and the fervent quest for scientific and alchemical knowledge.

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