As outside, so within, one might say. The construction of the book itself is sturdy and handsome, and no doubt able to deal with the occasional spilled alembic. Me, I got some coffee on it. It still looks good. Excellent qualifications for home-library fare.
But the *contents*. Good heavens. I was expecting page after page of illustrations with small-text captions. I bought it with an eye toward obscure imagery; I got it, but as an unexpected bonus there is a *wealth* of material explaining what it all means, and the sources, and the authors in whose works it appeared originally, and relevant snippets therefrom. Glorious! In addition to the images (and there are a great many, scrupulously reproduced and diverse, never fear) there is supplemental text on the history of the imagery and--among other things--why the 'hieroglyphics' of alchemy had such appeal to for alchemists and for the world of these illustrations' time. There are woodcuts, ink drawings, engravings and a few other media for the plates themselves. All look clear, or at least true to the original artist's shortcomings. Kings, queens, lions, baths, ovens, snakes, eggs, phoenixes and the like abound. That's not all, certainly: be assured that there are also rarer devices included. If I had it on my lap at the moment, I could blow the rest of my available space here with them. You will be satisfied with the breadth of the material, I'm certain.
It's *such* a good book to have. It stimulates both eyes and brain. Artists will draw inspiration from it, and the more scholarly folks will find it a gracious and sage read. I got it both ways. Lucky me.