Compendiosa totius anatomie delineatio.
Folio (398 x 270 mm), ff 44 plus engraved title and 40 engraved plates, one folding; margins of title frayed, not touching image, six plates with old paper reinforcement on blank versos, where the plate edge has cut into the paper, again not affecting images, a few incidental stains, some slight browning to some text leaves and a small area of marginal waterstaining, but still a very good, attractive copy of this work, in contemporary calf, gilt panels and fleurons on covers, rebacked and recornered. £95,000First edition, a very attractive copy of this famous engraved version of the Vesalian plates, the first appearance of these images after the Fabrica itself in 1543. It is one of the rarest and most beautiful anatomical books.'Although by tradition and Vesalius's own comments this work has been considered the first of the many plagiarisms of Vesalius's Fabrica and Epitome, Geminus gave full credit to Vesalius in a bold headline on the first leaf of text. He did, however, redraw Vesalius's woodcuts without permission. This is the second work [and the first of any consequence] printed in England with engraved plates. The new medium of copperplate engraving used by Geminus allowed a sharpness of line impossible for the wood engravers employed by Vesalius. This is in fact the first medical book illustrated with a suite of full-page engraved plates. The title page was called by Hind "the first engraving of any artistic importance produced in England". The book provided a summary of Vesalius's discoveries more complete than the Epitome but without the size and expense of the Fabrica' (Garrison and Morton 376.1).'Five years before the Compendiosa was first printed, anatomy had become an important subject in plans supported by the Crown to further good surgical practice. Henry VIII had, in 1540, given assent to an Act uniting Barbers and Surgeons into one Company, and in this same year another Act authorised the supply of four corpses of executed felons to be available to them for dissection. The Compendiosa was a text for such studies. It was dedicated to the king, who was said to have suggested that the Vesalian plates should be made available to English surgeons' (Roberts and Tomlinson, The fabric of the body).Thomas Geminus (ca 1510-1562) was a Flemish engraver who emigrated to England about 1540. He was also a publisher and scientific instrument-maker, and a surgeon until 1555 when he was examined and penalized by the College of Physicians for practising without a licence. He introduced copperplate engraving into England, and this book is the earliest large-scale production in the new medium. 'Engraved title-pages only become common from the middle of the century: the earliest English example, early even in a continental context, is that to Thomas Geminus' book Compendiosa totius anatomie delineatio of 1545. It shows a tableau in glorification of Henry VIII. Geminus was a Fleming and his pegma is a characteristic example of Flemish Mannerism' (Corbett and Lightbown, The comely frontispiece, pp. 7 et seq. with a detailed analysis of Geminus' composition).This is the first and greatest of the Vesalian sequelae. A second edition, with English translation, appeared in 1553 and a third edition in 1559. The plates were then taken to Paris where they were used for André Wechel's 1564 edition, and for Grevin's edition of 1569. The Geminus engravings were much more influential than the woodcut originals in spreading knowledge of anatomy in England and on the Continent.The plates comprise the title, the folding plate of Adam and Eve, 3 skeletal figures, 16 muscle figures, 5 arterial and venal figures, 4 neural figures, 6 figures of organs, 4 of the cerebrum, and one of ocular parts and surgical instruments. For the Adam and Eve figure, 'Geminus has taken liberties . with the celebrated nude figures from the Epitome, for the male figure in his cleverly copied plate now holds an apple instead of a skull. An enlarged skull is now on the gro. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 3619
Titel: Compendiosa totius anatomie delineatio.
Verlag: London, [colophon:] John Herford, October 1545
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WP Watson Antiquarian Books
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