706J. Isabella Cortese (fl. 1561)Secreti della Signora Isabella Cortese, ne’quali si contengono cose minerali, medicinali, arteficiose, & alchimiche : Et molte de l’arte profumatoria, appartenenti a ogni gran signora.Venetia : Appresso Carlo Conzatti, 1665 $3800Octavo 13 x 7.5 cm. Signatures: ±12, A-O12. First printed in 1561, this is a fifteenth edition but all are rare. This copy is bound in half leather binding on parchment boards, spine with four raised bands bearing red label with handwritten author and title. This copy is complete and in good internal condition.It is not a surprise that there is little know about Isabella Cortese other than that she is allegedly the authoress of this book. It was first published in Italian, and most likely written for a female audience. The Author certainly wants to produce a new book which break with tradition, She writes in this book: ” If you wish to follow the alchemical art, and practise it, you must stop studying the works of Geber, Ramon [Lull], Arnaldo [de Villanova], and other philosophers, because they said nothing truthful in their works except through images and puzzles.“This “libri de segreti” contains about 300 medicinal, cosmetic and alchemical recipes in four books, reportedly collected all over Europe. Isabella Cortese lets the trader of the title of the book that this book will be useful to great ladies “Et molte de l’arte profumatoria, appartenenti a ogni gran signora.” Offering secret and esoteric as well as Alchemical knowledge to Women this book depicts an ongoing social change in the roles of women.The secret information bridging the gender gap in this book was very popular going through 15 editions in 100 years. In book two Cortese focuses on Alchemical procedures including the production of Gold from Copper and the Philosophers stone. She also outlines the Moral responsibilities of alchemy and guides the reader in the use of laboratory equipment . In Book three Cortese gives us more household type alchemy, dying , creating crystals, stain removers, Soap and other utilitarian magic . The final book is predominantly instructions for the production of goods for artificial beauty, cosmetics, perfumes, hair dye, lip color, teeth whitener, etc. These recipes are quite practical and reproducible, while some are also very complicated. This book is quite scarce in any edition, no single edition is represented in more than three copied in North America . Here is a breakdown of holdings.