[Fioravanti, Leonardo] Falloppio, Gabriele | Secreti Diversi & Miracolosi
A rare early edition, likely the fifth in the original Italian, of a significant book of secrets first published in 1563 and attributed to the anatomist Gabriele Falloppio (1523-1562), though probably written by the iconoclastic physician Leonardo Fioravanti (1517- c. 1588). The first five editions were all printed in Venice, with the book given its lasting form by the editor of the 1565 second edition, Borgaruccio Borgarucci. Copies of the first five editions are well-represented institutionally but rare on the market, and only two other copies have appeared at auction in recent decades.
Books of secrets, compilations of natural and technical knowledge, were a popular medieval and early modern genre with roots stretching back to the Hellenistic period. As William Eamon, one of the foremost scholars of the subject, writes in Science in the Secrets of Nature, “Underlying these works was the assumption that nature was a repository of occult forces that might be manipulated, not by the magus’s cunning, but merely by the use of correct techniques. The utilitarian character of the books of secrets gave concrete substance to this claim. Unlike the recondite treatises on the philosophical foundations of magic, which barely touched base with the real world, the books of secrets were grounded upon a down-to-earth, experimental outlook: they did not affirm underlying principles but taught ‘how to.’ Hence they seemed to hold forth a real and accessible promise of power... What they revealed were recipes, formulas, and ‘experiments’ associated with one of the crafts or with medicine: for example, instructions for making quenching waters to harden iron and steel, recipes for mixing dyes and pigments, ‘empirical’ remedies, cooking recipes, and practical alchemical formulas such as a jeweler or tinsmith might use... By the eighteenth century such ‘secrets’ were techniques and nothing more. In the sixteenth century, however, the term was still densely packed with its ancient and medieval connotations: the association with esoteric wisdom, the domain of occult or forbidden knowledge, the artisan’s cunning... and the political power that attended knowledge of secrets” (Eamon, Science and the Secrets of Nature, pp. 4-5). This particular volume explores a wide range of secrets, the first chapter covering medicine, the second wines and spirits, and the third alchemical and metallurgical recipes, including producing gold and silver from lead; working with precious metals, iron, and copper; producing cosmetics (”red for women’s faces”); and also includes more unusual recipes such as how to carve letters into marble without iron and how to make an inextinguishable candle.
Books of secrets were often spuriously attributed to famous doctors, philosophers, and occult figures as a marketing strategy. When Secreti Diversi et Miracolosi was first published in 1563 its Venetian printer Marco di Maria explained that the compilation had “fallen into his hands” after the great anatomist’s death, and that the contents were the results of Falloppio’s own successful experiments. However, Eamon cautiously attributes the text to Leonardo Fioravanti. “Indeed, the work praises the Bolognese surgeon so effusively that it reads like an extended advertisement for Fioravanti’s books” (Eamon, pp. 166-167). Fioravanti’s “marvellous” ability to cure syphilis, his treatments for wounds and leprosy, and his most recent books are all promoted. In 1563 Fioravanti was still a young man establishing himself, hence the need for promotion. But he eventually became well-known, an outspoken critic of contemporary medicine and “one of the wonders of the age” whose “skill as a surgeon and unorthodox medical practices made him the focus of a cultlike following” (Eamon p. 168).
Bibliography: USTC 828720, Welcome I, 2161; Thorndike VI, p. 218
...Racolti dal Falopia, & Approbati da altri Medici di Gran Fama. Novamente Ristampati, et à Commun Beneficio di Ciascuno, Distinti in Tre Libri... Venice: Alessandro Gardane [for Giacomo Leoncini], 1578.
Small octavo (145 x 90 mm). Early-18th century vellum, paper covered spine with manuscript library label, blind fillets, red speckled edges. Publisher Giacomo Leoncini’s woodcut device to title page and the verso of the final leaf, 5 woodcut initials. Some contemporary or near-contemporary pen marks and short notes in the margins, many partially trimmed, more significant 12-line manuscript note to the recto of the final leaf, and pen trials, a partially illegible name, and a child’s doodles to the verso of the same leaf. Vellum peeling a little from a corner of the upper board, some marks and spots to the vellum, minor area of insect damage to pastedowns and early and late leaves only slightly affecting the text, ink stain to K2 and adjacent leaves. Very good condition.
[Gell-Man, Murray] Snooke, W. D. | The Calendar of the Memory
First and only edition of this rare guide to memorising timekeeping rules and astronomical tables, from the library of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann (1929-2019), with his bookplate on the front pastedown. Only one copy of this book appears in auction records, sold at Dominic Winter in 2004, and WorldCat locates five institutional copies, at the British Library, St. Andrews, Cambridge, Glasgow, and the Open University.
Murray Gell-Mann was one of the founders of the standard model of physics, responsible for predicting the existence of both quarks and gluons. “To bring order to a plethora of recently discovered subatomic particles, in 1961 Gell-Mann proposed a set of rules based on symmetries in the fundamental forces of nature. The rules classified subatomic particles called hadrons into eight groups, a scheme he named the eightfold way in a reference to Buddhist philosophy. In 1964, he realized that such rules would naturally arise if the particles were composed of two, three or more fundamental particles, held together by the strong nuclear force... protons and neutrons, for example, would be made up of three of these more fundamental particles, which Gell-Man named quarks, inspired by a quote — ‘Three quarks for Muster Mark!’ — from James Joyce’s 1939 novel Finnegans Wake (Nature obituary, 28 May, 2019).
As is apparent from his esoteric naming conventions, Gell-Man was a polymath with extremely wide-ranging interests, foremost among them linguistics and archaeology. Novelist Cormac McCarthy described him as knowing “more things about more things than anyone I’ve ever met”. Gell-Mann “wanted to understand the ‘chain of relationships’ that connected the universal laws of physics to complex systems like economies and human cultures. He described these two extremes of interest in his 1994 book, The Quark and the Jaguar, as ‘two aspects of nature…on the one hand, the underlying physical laws of matter and the universe, and on the other, the rich fabric of the world that we perceive directly and of which we are a part’” (Santa Fe Institute obituary, 24 May, 2019). These interests led him to found the Santa Fe Institute to collaborate with “economists, linguists, biologists, computer scientists, and with other physicists who shared his passion for finding fundamental principles in learning, evolving systems” (Santa Fe Institute obituary). It may have been Gell-Mann’s interest in linguistics or a related field that attracted him to this volume.
Little is known of the author of this work, W. D. Snooke, but he was apparently a professor of mathematics and was also responsible for a volume on the botany of the Isle of Wight and a selection of Psalms. The Calendar of Memory was well-reviewed by Mechanic’s Magazine, which reported that “we earnestly recommend this work to all who have ever experienced the benefit of the old verse beginning with ‘thirty days hath September’, which is much the same thing, we presume, as if we were to recommend it to every man, woman, and child, in the three kingdoms... Although the memorial verses form, of course, the peculiar feature of Mr. Snooke’s Calendar, they are far from being its only recommendation. The rules embodied in them, and the explanations by which they are accompanied, are distinguished by great simplicity, conciseness, and accuracy” (Mechanic’s Magazine, Museum Register, Journal and Gazette, no., 309, July 11, 1829, p. 352).
...Comprehending Familiar Explanations of the Subjects Necessary for the General Calendar, &c. With the Rules Rendered in Verse For the Memory, by which the Principal Divisions of Time, Moon’s Age, Eclipses, Tides, with Various Other Astronomical and Interesting Particulars, Can be Mentally Ascertained. Also, a Guide to the Stars... London: J. Stephens, .
Duodecimo. Original dark blue skiver, spine gilt in compartments, title to upper board gilt. Bookplate of Murray Gell-Man. Contemporary or near-contemporary ownership signature to the front free endpaper. Boards a little rubbed and scuffed, particularly at the extremities, two abrasions of the fore-edge slightly nicking and creasing the margins, significant foxing affecting pages 37 through 71. A very good copy.
[Hardouin Brothers] | Zodiac man from a French book of hours
Illuminated zodiac man from a 16th-century French book of hours printed on vellum, probably from the workshop of Germain and Gillet Hardouin.
During the late 15th and early 16th centuries printers often borrowed stylistically from manuscripts, and used vellum and colourful illuminations to increase the cachet of printed books. In France this trade was dominated by the Hardouin brothers, who were active between 1510 and 1550. Gillet was a printer, and unusually, all the illuminations were overseen in-house by his brother Germain, who was registered with the Guild of Illuminators.
The “Homo anatomicus”, bloodletting man, or zodiac man — a type of diagram that codified the relationship between the microcosm of the human body and the divine macrocosm — had its origin in classical thought and was a feature of European and Middle Eastern books of hours, almanacs, and medical texts throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance. This example depicts man as a corpse surrounded by text explaining the relationship between the signs of the zodiac, the parts of the body, and the four humours. The temperaments associated with the four humours are depicted in the smaller illuminations. Clockwise for the top left they are: the choleric temperament symbolised by a warrior with lion; the sanguine, with a hawk and monkey; melancholy surrounded by stars; and the phlegmatic with a lamb.
Paris: Hardouin, early 16th century.
Single leaf from a French book of hours, printed on vellum and hand illuminated (185 x 115 mm). Professionally mounted, framed and glazed using archival materials. On the recto, a depiction of the “anatomical man” as a skeleton surrounded by information about the humours, the zodiac, and the best times for bleeding, surrounded by an elaborate, uncoloured border. On the verso, the calendar for January with an elaborate border of acanthus leaves and human figures and an illuminated initial. Trimmed closely at the top edge and gutter side, wrinkling and spotting of the vellum. Very good condition.
[Seaweed] | An exceptional Victorian seaweed album
A sumptuous, mid-19th century seaweed album, unusually finely bound and containing eighty specimens.
Most seaweed albums we have handled have been simply bound in skiver or paper-covered blank books. This example, however, is in green morocco with elaborate gold tooling and attractive, gilt patterned endpapers. The specimens are among the most beautiful we have seen, delicate, artfully arranged, and retaining their colour and texture, and they represent an unusually varied selection of species. Each one is individually mounted on white card, and hand-labelled with its scientific name and the location where it was collected. Most were found in Cumbria, at Roa and Piel Islands off the Furness Peninsula, as well as the mainland beaches of Roose, Baycliff, Aldingham, Bardsea, Saltcoats, Rampside, Flimby, and Maryport. Also represented are nearby Ayrshire in southwest Scotland, as well as more exotic locales: the Isle of Mann, Gibralter, Tangier, and one location given only as “Mediterranean”.
Seaweed collecting was, together with other types of natural history collecting and scrapbooking, a popular occupation for young women during the Victorian era. Inspired in part by the Romantic Movement's reverence for nature, it was considered a wholesome way for women to engage with the outdoors, and it also functioned as a social accomplishment indicating one's suitability for marriage and family life.
Nature was at the centre of the Victorian domestic imagination, and "one reason for the appearance of various representations of the natural world in the parlour. was a continuing apprehension of the world as beautiful - or at least a continuing prestige attached to those who were sensible of that beauty" (Logan, The Victorian Parlour, p. 142). Nature was inextricably tied to religious and moral edification, with amateur collectors "drawn to the study of the natural world as a culturally approved form of recreation. seen as aesthetically pleasing, educational and morally beneficial, since [nature] lifted the mind to a new appreciation of God" (Logan, p. 144).
"Queen Victoria as a young girl made a seaweed album; later in the century, materials for such an album could be purchased at seaside shops like that of Mary Wyatt in Torquay, who specialized in natural souvenirs" (Logan, p. 124). "In the late 19th Century, the books Sea Mosses: A Collector's Guide and An Introduction to the Study of Marine Algae by A. B. Hervey outlined how to properly press and mount various types of algae. The tools needed are a pair of pliers, scissors, a stick with a needle in the end, at least two 'wash bowls,' botanist's 'drying paper,' or some kind of blotting paper, cotton cloth, and finally cards to mount the specimens on. Pliers and scissors are used to handle the specimens and cut away any extraneous, 'superfluous' branches, and the needle is used like a pencil so that the plant can be moved around with relative ease to show the finer details. The drying and pressing process consists of layering the mounting papers with various types of blotting cloth and additional paper topped with weights; in this case the weights suggested by Hervey are 50 lbs. worth of rocks found by the seashore. Most seaweed in this case will adhere to the mounting board via gelatinous materials emitted from the plant itself" (Harvard University, Mary A. Robinson online exhibition).
United Kingdom, mid-19th century.
Tall quarto (288 x 227 mm). Contemporary green morocco rebacked with the original spine laid down, spine elaborately gilt in compartments, elaborate gilt rules and rolls to boards, cornerpieces, gilt turn-ins and patterned endpapers, all edges gilt. 24 leaves of green paper with 80 specimens mounted on white paper inserts of various sizes, each labelled with scientific name and location in manuscript, tissue guards. Rebacked as noted above, small repairs to corners, binding rubbed and scuffed, occasional light spots and toning of contents, one specimen lacking. Very good condition.
[Woodhead, Joseph] | Catalogue or Guide to the Liverpool Museum of Anatomy.
The rare catalogue of the Liverpool Museum of Anatomy, describing in detail the Museum’s contents and policies, and illustrating its interior by an engraving on the lower cover.
The Liverpool Museum of Anatomy was one of a number of such museums in the UK and US that specialised in wax anatomical models and, unlike many of the museums of professional medical organisations, were open to the public. Though the stated goal was always education, particularly regarding reproduction and the dangers of sexual vice, these museums also traded on the shock or titillation value of their exhibits and some were targeted by the medical establishment as purveyors of vice and quackery.
The proprietor of the Liverpool Museum was the physician Joseph Thornton Woodhead, who describes himself as “having spent thirty years in the study and treatment of diseases affecting the mental and generative organs, nervous and dyspeptic debility, either constitutional or acquired, decline of physical vigor, loss of mental energy, and the numerous concomitants to sexual disorganisation” and writes that those afflicted can consult him “personally at his establishment daily from 11am till 9pm, Sundays excepted”, while those living outside town could write (p. 63).
The Liverpool Museum offered a wide variety of exhibits on the human body, including most of the internal organs; the skeleton; digestion (”articles of human food, and what they are converted into”); common surgical procedures such as the removal of kidney stones; and the usual exhibits on STDs, obstetrics (including a caesarian section model and anatomical venuses), masturbation, circumcision, hermaphrodites, and “freaks of nature”. The admittance of women into such museums was controversial, but defended by many proprietors as an important educational opportunity for women who cared for their families’ health. This booklet advertises the Museum’s hours of admission for ladies as being Tuesdays and Fridays from 2-5pm, and also offers a course of six lectures on midwifery (p. 26). One of the exhibits aimed specifically at women was on the “dreadful effects of tight lacing”, being “a magnificant full-length figure in wax, the model of a young lady... who having from her earliest childhood accustomed herself to the pernicious habit of tight lacing, suddenly dropped down dead in the arms of her partner while dancing” (p. 52).
The Museum’s timeline is difficult to determine from historical sources (and it seems to have moved between Liverpool and Manchester several times), but in this booklet Woodhead claims that it had already been open for forty years. It appears to have been tolerated by the medical establishment until 1874, when Woodhead was prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act. “To Woodhead's justification ‘that the Royal College of Surgeons possesses, and admits the public to, an exhibition similar to his own”’, the magistrate replied that ‘he could understand museums of the character of the defendant's being connected with the hospitals and medical colleges, but when they came into the hands of private individuals they were likely to produce serious evils’ (Bates, “Indecent and Demoralising Representations: Public Anatomy Museums in mid-Victorian England”, Medical History vol. 52, January 2008). The Museum was closed and the exhibits sold to Louis Tussaud’s waxworks show.
This catalogue is rare. A search on WorldCat locates only four copies, at the Wellcome Library, Harvard, the University of Rochester, and the Getty Research Institute.
Bibliography: Hoolihan, An Annotated Catalogue of the Edward C. Atwater Collection of American Popular Medicine & Health Reform S-741.1
...29, Paradise Street. This superb collection with all the latest additions, comprising upwards of 1000 models and diagrams, procured at the anatomical galleries of Paris, Florence, and Munich. Now forms the largest collection of anatomical preparations in England, with one exception only, namely of the Royal College of Surgeons’ Museum...
Liverpool: Matthews Brothers, Printers, [c. 1870s].
64 page pamphlet. Original light blue wrappers printed in black. Engraving depicting the museum on the lower wrapper, 1 engraving within the text. Wrappers rubbed, dulled, and spotted, minor crease to the upper corner slightly affecting the contents. Very good condition.