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BARONIO, Giuseppe (c. 1759–1811)

Degli innesti animali.
Milano, Stamperia e Fonderia del Genio, 1804.

A superb copy of the excessively rare first edition in contemporary state and binding of Baronio’s masterpiece. A very important work on transplantation and experimental surgery in animals, a subject upon which very little has been written. There are chapters on the Indian method for restoration of the nose, and the revival of this method by Carpue, on the surgery of Tagliacozzi, on teeth graft in man, and on skin grafts in animals. It is a landmark in the development of plastic surgery procedure after two centuries of neglect. “ . . . but is was Giuseppe Baronio, physician and naturalist of Milan, who first demonstrated on sheep that full-thickness skin grafts could be successfully transplanted after detachment from the body. In three experiments which he describes in 1804, Baronio removed from the back of a sheep patches of skin which he transplanted to new sites on the same sheep, one immediately, a second after eighteen minutes, and a third after one hour of detachment. All became successfully adherent to the new bed . . . Baronio’s significant findings went unnoticed, . . . and it was not until more than fifty years later that free whole-thickness skin grafts came into general use. . . . The basic principle of free transplantation . . . constituted, when fully understood and applied, the greatest single advance [in plastic surgery] of the nineteenth century.” (Gnudi & Webster, p 328).

Collation: Pp 78, (2). Stipple engraved medallion portrait and 2 engraved plates (one folding). Contemporary mottled sheep, floral gilt spine and borders around sides of covers, red edges. Beautiful marbled endpapers (Bodoni ?)

Binding: Printed on extra thick paper.

Provenance: Small circular owner's stamp at foot of title with a crown.

References: Garrison-Morton 5736; Gnudi & Webster, The Life and Times of Gaspare Tagliacozzi, p 328; Zeis Index 301 & 422; Maltz, Evolution of Plastic Surgery, p 221; Bankoff, The Story of Plastic Surgery, p. 42; Belloni, 'Dalle “Riproduzioni animali” di L. Spallanzani agli “Innesti animali” di G. Baronio’ in Physis, III, 1961, pp 37-48; Hirsch, I, 243. Waller 686.

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