Description

    First Edition of Greenhill's
    The Art of Embalming

    Thomas Greenhill. [Greek Text:] NEKROKHDEIA: Or, The Art of Embalming; Wherein is shewn The Right of Burial, The Funeral Ceremonies, And the several Ways of Preserving Dead Bodies In Most Nations of the World. With an Account of The particular Opinions, Experiments and Inventions of modern Physicians, Surgeons, Chymists and Anatomists. Also Some new Matter propos'd concerning a better Method of Embalming than hath hitherto been discover'd. And A Pharmacopœia Galeno-Chymica, Anatomia sicca sive incruenta, &c. In Three Parts. London: for the Author, [N.d. 1705]. First edition. Quarto. a-c4, d2, B-3A4, a-c2. [4], viii, v, [9], 367, [13] pages. Folding plate of Egypt and twelve (of thirteen) full page plates by Sturt, Kip, Van Gucht, Nuting, and Platt. Lacks folding frontispiece and plate of relic burial lamps (page 334). Old half calf over marbled boards, rebacked at a later date. Gilt title label to top of spine, bottom of spine chipped off, joints solid but starting. Edges red, refreshed endpapers, title page with old owner's signatures "Henry Bl[r]encowe" and "Joseph Dixon". First few leaves and last few leaves with light dampstains to inner margin. Small tear to verso of Egypt map. Small repairs to verso of plates at pages 316 and 327, no affect. Hinge cracked at c1-c2. Small holes from biopredation in the upper margins of the last few pages. Few leaves with small edge tears, some light soiling and staining to outer margins, no affect, otherwise in very good condition. There are two states of this book, this is the one with "printed for the author on the title page." ESTC T68902. Hilmy I, 227. Blake 185. Wellcome III, 160. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
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    Thomas Greenhill. [Greek Text:] NEKROKHDEIA: Or, The Art of Embalming; Wherein is shewn The Right of Burial, The Funeral Ceremonies, And the several Ways of Preserving Dead Bodies In Most Nations of the World. With an Account of The particular Opinions, Experiments and Inventions of modern Physicians, Surgeons, Chymists and Anatomists. Also Some new Matter propos'd concerning a better Method of Embalming than hath hitherto been discover'd. And A Pharmacpœia Galeno-Chymica, Anatomia sicca sive incruenta, &c. In Three Parts. London: for the Author, [N.d. 1705].               

    First edition. Quarto. a-c4, d2, B-3A4, a-c2. [4], viii, v, [9], 367, [13] pages. Folding plate of Egypt and twelve (of thirteen) full page plates by Sturt, Kip, Van Gucht, Nuting, and Platt. Lacks folding frontispiece and plate of relic burial lamps (page 334). Old half calf over marbled boards, rebacked at a later date. Gilt title label to top of spine, bottom of spine chipped off, joints solid but starting. Edges red, refreshed endpapers, title page with old owner's signatures "Henry Bl[r]encowe" and "Joseph Dixon". First few leaves and last few leaves with light dampstains to inner margin. Small tear to verso of Egypt map. Small repairs to verso of plates at pages 316 and 327, no affect. Hinge cracked at c1-c2. Small holes from biopredation in the upper margins of the last few pages. Few leaves with small edge tears, some light soiling and staining to outer margins, no affect, otherwise in very good condition.

    Thomas Greenhill, (flourished 1698-1732), surgeon and author. "Greenhill's reputation as an author is entirely based upon his Nekrok deia... Greenhill's central purpose was to reverse the decline of embalming by advocating its restoration within aristocratic burial practices, and by making it the exclusive preserve of surgeons, rather than undertakers and quacks. He proceeded as an antiquary, making his theological, historical, and anthropological arguments with extensive reference to classical texts, patristics, and the scriptures. The work is dedicated to Thomas, eighth earl of Pembroke, who was the dedicatee of John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690). Paid for by subscription, the essay enjoyed the patronage of notable dignitaries, including the archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Tenison. London's medical men also gave the project crucial support; from 217 subscribers, thirty-four were surgeons, eighteen physicians, and twelve apothecaries. The book is divided into three letters. The first is addressed to Charles Bernard, serjeant surgeon to Queen Anne, on the rites of burial and funeral customs. The second, which is addressed to John Lawson, a former president of the Royal College of Physicians and accomplished orientalist, discusses Egyptian embalming techniques within a rich cultural and geographical account of the country. The last letter, addressed to Hans Sloane, a leading physician and secretary to the Royal Society, is 'a succinct Account of the Pyramids, Subterranean Vaults and Lamps of the Egyptians' (Greenhill, 308)... Occasional antiquarian interest aside, embalming continued to decline profoundly despite Greenhill's efforts; no other book was published explicitly on the subject in English during the eighteenth century. Greenhill himself had recognized that the practice had become deeply unpopular. Aristocrats were favouring night-time funerals which avoided embalming, probably from a mixture of religious concerns, fears of live dissection, and, in the case of women, scruples about erotic impropriety...  Nekrok deia is a lovely object, the illustrations are fine, and Greenhill's scholarship is impressive. It offers rich evidence on attitudes to death, of early eighteenth-century antiquarianism and Egyptology, and the medical politics of the day, in an accessible and interesting blend." -ODNB.

    There are two states of this book, this is the one with "printed for the author on the title page."              

    ESTC T68902. Hilmy I, 227. Blake 185. Wellcome III, 160.



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