Fontaine, Jean de la (or John Fontaine) (ca.
Flemish alchemist and poet who lived at Valenciennes toward
the close of the thirteenth century. Two books are ascribed
to him, La Fontaine des Amoureux de Science and La Fontaine
Perilleuse, both of which were written in French and
published in Paris, the first in 1561 and the second in 1572.
Fontaine’s claims to the authorship of the latter work have
frequently been disputed, but the former is almost certainly his,
and is a curious production. At the outset the author professes
himself an expert in hermetic philosophy, and thereafter he
proceeds, in poetry of an allegorical style that recalls The Roman
of the Rose, to describe the different processes involved in
achieving a transmutation. There is little in this metrical treatise
that indicates that the writer was an alchemist of any great
ability, but he certainly possessed a distinct gift for writing
pleasant verse.
Fontaine, Jean de la. La Fontaine des Amoureux de Science.
Paris, 1561.
———. La Fontaine Perilleuse. Paris, 1572.