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    Charles Bell. Illustrations of the Great Operations of Surgery, Trepan, Hernia, Amputation, Aneurism, and Lithotomy. By Charles Bell, Lecturer on Anatomy and Surgery in the School of Great Windmill Street, and Surgeon of the Middlesex Hospital. London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, by A. and R. Spottiswoode, 1821. First edition, with first issue title-page, including the date and "Hurst" in the imprint, and with Bell's title not mentioning the University of London, but with some plates watermarked: "J. Whatman / Turkey Mill / 1839." Originally issued in parts from 1820-1821. Large oblong folio (10.75 x 14.875 inches; 274 x 380 mm.). viii, 134 pp. Twenty etched plates by Thomas Landseer after drawings by Bell made over the previous twenty years, most in sepia, all but three with full or partial hand-coloring. Plates II, XI, XV, and XVI have the watermark: "J. Whatman / Turkey Mill / 1839." One uncolored text engraving (at foot of page 133). Original quarter burgundy calf and green diaper-grain cloth over thin boards, front cover with burgundy leather label decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt crudely applied; yellow coated endpapers. Neatly rebacked, with portions of the original spine laid down; rear cover with a small hole and evidence of a label possibly having been removed. Hinges renewed with green diaper-grain cloth; cloth rubbed and stained; original front free endpaper replaced with original rear free endpaper, with offsetting from the final text engraving visible; a few short tears repaired at lower edge of front free endpaper. Slight browning, especially at the edges, and some occasional, mostly marginal, foxing and soiling; offsetting from both text to plates and from plates to text; a few leaves with tiny chips at upper edge. Despite the flaws and repairs, this is excellent copy of these remarkable and important. Housed in custom clamshell. Garrison-Morton 5588; Heirs of Hippocrates 1305; Norman Library 174; Waller 857.

    More Information: Title with a few small stains or fox marks; first six leaves with vertical crease; pages 13/14 with two-and-one-half-inch tear from outer edge, a small piece torn away (measuring approximately one by one-and-one-half inches), and with an old tape repair. First uncolored plate (facing page [5]), illustrating the instruments used in performing the "Operation of Trepan," quite foxed, and beginning to separate at vertical plate mark; Plate IX (facing page 57) with half-inch tear from lower edge to lower plate mark; a few tiny dark spots in the gutter of Plate XII (facing page 75); tiny chip and crease to lower edge of uncolored Plate XVIII (facing page 117). Small stain at lower edges of pages 125-130, also faintly visible on Plate XX (facing page 125). Considerable bleedthrough from uncolored text engraving on page 133 to page 134.

    "One of the most remarkable illustrated books in the history of surgery, Bell's Great operations was originally issued in parts from 1820-1821 and made its first appearance in book form in 1821...The work's large, vigorously drawn plates were prepared by Thomas Landseer (brother of Edwin Landseer, the popular Victorian painter of animal subjects) from drawings of operations Bell had made over the previous twenty years. Most copies have the plates printed in black, but at least one copy exists with the plates in sepia" (Norman Library).

    Among the operations depicted are trepan, several kinds of hernia, amputation, and lithotomy. One of the images (Plate II, facing page 6) shows an operation done on the head of a black man. "This may be the earliest depiction of a black person in a medical work" (Garrison-Morton). In his introduction, Bell describes the duties and responsibilities of the surgeon.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2020
    4th Wednesday
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