“ONLY MEN SKILL’D IN ANATOMY CAN GIVE TRUE JUDGMENT”: RARE FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH OF DIEMERBROECK’S ANATOMY, 1689, WITH 16 SPLENDID COPPER-ENGRAVED FOLDING PLATES
DIEMERBROECK, Isbrandus de. The Anatomy of Human Bodies, Comprehending the most Modern Discoveries and Curiosities in that Art. To which is added a Particular Treatise of the Small-Pox and Measles. Together with several Practical Observations and Experienc’d Cures. London: Printed for Edward Brewster, 1689. Folio (8-1/2 by 13 inches), contemporary full mottled brown calf sympathetically rebacked and recornered, raised bands, original red morocco spine label.
First edition in English of Diemerbroeck’s rare Anatomy, an exceptional folio volume with wide-ranging anatomical sections and 16 splendid copper-engraved folding plates, along with Diemerbroeck’s writings on smallpox and other diseases that feature detailed medical histories, translated into English by well-known 17th-century medical historian William Salmon, with engraved frontispiece portrait of him, handsomely bound in contemporary calf.
“Isbrandus van Diemerbroeck was a celebrated Dutch physician of the 17th century. He practiced for several years at Nimeguen, and wrote an account of the dreadful plague, which raged there in 1635, 1636 and 1637. He afterwards moved to Utrecht, where he was appointed to the professorship of physic” (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society II:148). This rare first edition in English of Diemerbroeck’s impressive Anatomy provides exceptional insight into 17th-century medicine in its ten detailed sections on the lower torso, thorax, head, limbs, muscles, membranes and fibres, arteries, veins, nerves, bones, and cartilages and ligaments. As is noted herein, “only the Learned in Anatomy know, what Part a Disease does primarily affect and… what Remedies ought to be applied.” Further, “only Men skill’d in Anatomy can give true Judgment upon a Wound, whether it be Mortal or no, which is of no small moment to a Judge or Magistrate for their Conduct and Procedure upon Criminals” (Preface). Diemerbroeck’s Anatomy also reflects his wide experience with smallpox and the measles in a section that includes numerous medical histories, and this is widely held as the last anatomical work to contemplate the soul’s location in the body. This folio volume’s 16 splendid copper-engraved folding plates display detailed dissections that include figures from drawings by de Graaf, Paulli, Ruysch and Willis. First edition in English, preceded by the 1672 Dutch edition (in Latin), titled Anatome corporis humani. Translated into English by William Salmon, famed 17th-century medical historian and self-taught physician, with engraved frontispiece portrait of him. Containing 16 copper-engraved folding anatomical plates. With separately paginated “Treatise of the Small-Pox and Measles” (including half title) and its further sections: “Medicinal Observations and Cures,” “Practical Dispuations” and “Cures of the Chief Diseases of the Lower Belly.” Occasional mispagination without loss of text. Wing D1416. Krivatsy 3207. Russell 262. Not in Norman. Bookplate. Tiny bit of marginalia to front pastedown.
Plates and text generally very fresh and fine with light scattered foxing, faint dampstaining to two leaves (175-8), small bit of loss to margin of one text leaf (37), corner of one plate (IV) not affecting text or image, minor expert archival repair to several plates with minimal or no effect on image. A nearly fine copy of this rare and important anatomical work with exceptional copper plates.