Books for professional use
VCF 22 (Germany, 1586): Alchimia et remediorum (Alchemy and recipes), paper, 250 fols., 310 x 200 mm, 1 col., 23-26 lines.

This manuscript was completed by the scribe Peter Jünger on December 8th, 1586. We know this from the colophon on fol. 152v where he wrote “Laus deo Gloria (Praise and Glory to God) Anno Christi 1568 8 Decembris.” Jünger used two kinds of script to copy the texts in the manuscript: Gothic cursive and Humanistic cursive. On fol. 30v you can see the transition from Gothic to Humanistic. One of the texts in this manuscript is Alchemia et remediorum liber (The Book of Alchemy and Medicine). The manuscript also contains a text on wine, beer, and vinegar, in addition to recipes and philosophical treatises.

Both the paper leaves and the binding of this manuscript were produced in Dresden, Germany. Paper was introduced in Europe in the twelfth century, though it was not until the late thirteenth century that it was used in book production. Bindings were, however, still made from animal skin - in this case a calf’s. This binding was produced in 1590 (four years after the manuscript was finished) in the workshop of Jakob Weidlich. He also produced the bindings of VCF 17, VCF 18, VCF 21 and VCF 23.

(Boeren, 1975, pp. 68-70)


  1. Manuscripts were made from parchment, paper or a combination of these two materials. The quality of these materials varied considerably. What material was used in this manuscript and how can you tell?
  2. Observe all written parts of the book in front of you (main text, rubrics, marginal additions, ownership inscriptions) and make an inventory of the different styles of handwriting. Some differences you observe may result from the fact that they are different script families, while others are a variation within one given script family. Focus on a small selection of letters of your own choice and deduce if they vary and how precisely. This is a difficult task that may require you to analyze individual letters, but that may also be sparked by an intuitive verdict: one style of writing may feel “much better” or “of higher quality” than another. Differentiate between the different writing styles to the best of your abilities and with any available means – quantitative or qualitative.


  1. Boeren, P. C. (1975). Codices vossiani chymici. Universitaire Pers Leiden.