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SCHMIDT, Christian Hellwig (1795–1845)

Descriptio ichthyosis corneæ congenitæ in virgine observatæ tabulis tribus lapidi incisis illustrata. Qua viro celeberrimo ac doctissimo Henr. Guilh. Matth. Olbers. a facultate illustri medica Georgiæ Augustæ gratulatur.
Bremæ, typis J. G. Heyse, 1830.

This work is dedicated to Heinrich Wilhelm Matthias Olbers (1758–1840), a medical doctor from Bremen, who is more famous as an astronomer. It is a description of a case of congenital ichthyosis in a young woman, Francesina Kroone from Düsstedt. The three plates by St. Messerer of Bremen show the patient’s whole body, her right forearm and her left foot. Ichthyosis is a disease of the skin characterized by a morbid development of the papillae and thickening of the epidermic lamellae. The hardened masses of epithelium develop in excess, the epidermal layer loses in integrity, and the surface becomes scaled like that of a fish. A rare form of ichthyosis was that of the celebrated ”porcupine-man” who exhibited himself in England in 1710. His body, except the face, the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet, was covered with small excrescences in the form of prickles of a reddish-brown colour, and so hard and elastic that they rustled and made a noise when the hand passed over their surfaces. Other cases were ”the biped armadillo”, .and the individual exhibited under the name of the ”alligator-boy”, whose skin resembled that of a young alligator.in colour and consistency However, the most famous example of skin-anomaly was perhaps the ”elephant-man” of London, who died in 1890.

Collation: Pp 16. With 3 lithographed plates coloured by hand.

Binding: Original blue stiff wrappers.

Provenance: Inscription inside front cover: "Der Bibliothek der Gesellschaft der Aerzte Schweden's zu Stockholm von [Gerhard] von dem Busch zu Bremen" (1791–1868).

References: Ehring. Skin Diseases, 5 Centuries of Scientific Illustration (1989), p 128 and colour plate 79; Gould & Pyle, Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine (1896), reprint 1956, pp 823-28.

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