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GESNER, Konrad (1516–1565), editor

Chirurgia. De chirurgia scriptores optimi quique veteres et recentiores, plerique in Germania antehac non editi, nunc primum in unum coniuncti volumen.
Tiguri, per Andream Gessnerum f. et Iacobum Gessnerum fratres, 1555.

Assembled and edited by Konrad Gesner, this extensive collection of surgical works also contains a brief tract by him on the historical importance of surgery, De medicinæ chirurgicæ præstantia et antiquitate. The book is a history and bio-bibliography of surgery and surgeons, one of the first of its kind, which covers some 150 authors. Nearly a third of the work is devoted to the six books of Tagault’s surgery, with the sixth book written by Houllier and Guido Guidis versions of Galen. In addition there are works by Mariano Santo, Angelo Bolognini, Michelangelo Biondo, Bartolomeo Maggi, Alfonso Ferri’s treatises on gunshot wounds, Johannes Lange, Galen, Oribasius and Jacobo Dondi dall’Orologio. Some sections are richly illustrated with woodcuts of skeletons, instruments, bandages incl. reduced versions of the figures in Guido Guidi’s Chirurgia. The blocks were cut by Jos Murer. See Eimas, Heirs of Hippocrates, 309, for a detailed description of the contents.

Collation: Ff (10) prelims, the last blank, 1-226 (227-8 dropped in foliation), 229-408, (2) colophon and one leaf with printer’s device on verso, (20) index incl. final leaf blank. Printer’s device on title. Fine historiated initials in two sizes. With 6 full-page and ca.130 smaller woodcuts in the text (many with several figures on one block).

Binding: Contemporary panelled pigskin, richly blind stamped. Spine with five double bands. On both covers three roll-produced borders, the outer with four putti alternating, the middle with conventional ornament, the inner with round medallions with heads. In the centre of front cover a panel: two women sitting in front of a wall, one holding a crusefix in her right hand and with her left hand offering a communion cup to another women praying to God up among the clouds. Below the legend: IMPEREATALMAFIDESCHIST OVAMDANTE SALVIEM EXPEC TARESOROR SPES ANIMOSA. At the end the letters ”SO” in smaller size, which may be the binder’s initials. The original owner’s initials on upper cover ’M M H D’ and the date 1581. In the centre of back cover a panel with a standing man holding up a book(?) in front of a woman sitting with two children. Below the legend: QVEVOCORINSIGNECARITUM DENOMINEVIRTUSOMNIA QVE PIETAS SVA TETOBIRES.

Provenance: On front cover: M M H D and the date 1581. Early owner’s signature on title page: Christophorus Knoff.

References: Garrison-Morton 5562; Heirs of Hippocrates 309; Durling 960; Wellisch Hans, Conrad Gessner. A Bibliography, 36:1; Osler 643; Bird 559-61. Watson 8 (1997); Dordick Cat. 51-35; (sept. 2004). Waller 1959.

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