Patrick's Rare Books

Cheselden, Anatomy of the Human body, 7th ed, 1756

Cheselden, Anatomy of the Human body, 7th ed, 1756

The Anatomy of the Human Body. By W. Cheselden. Surgeon to his Majesty’s Royal Hospital at Chelsea, Fellow of the Royal Society, and Member of the Royal Academy of Surgeons at Paris. The VIIth Edition with Forty Copper Plates Engrav’d by Ger: Vandergucht. London. Printed for C: Hitch & R:Dodsley. 1756.


8vo in quarter brown leather and tan-grey cloth. Red leather title plate on spine with gold text. Internal front hinge focally starting to split. Otherwise, hinges intact and strong. Bookplate of James Tait Goodrich loosely tipped in. New endpapers. Pen and pencil prior owner’s names on original front fly leaf. Library stamp on title page and on blank reverse of every plate. 1 ½ inch tear at outer margin of 47/48 coursing into text. 3 inch tear at top of 54 coursing down into text. ½ inch tear at outer margin of Tab XX not affecting image. Fore edge trimmed at 329/330 with slight loss of text near bottom. A few margins of plates trimmed in to just touch the images. Clean, bright, and tight throughout with no internal markings of plates or text. Minimal foxing.


Two blanks, frontis, title, To Richard Mead, Preface, Contents (iv, v), advertisement, 1 – 334 text and plates, 16 pages of index, two blanks. 40 plates (as called for) bound in four groups of ten. Tab xxxviii is foldout.


Measures: 8 ¼ x 5 ¼ x 1 ¼ inches.


Garrison-Morton 390 records the first edition of 1713. This tremendously popular anatomy book ran through 13 editions (into the 19th century). Cheselden inaugurated lectures on anatomy and surgery at St. Thomas’ Hospital in 1720. Waller 1943 (see G-M 395 and Heirs 512 for first and second editions). The “supplicating skeleton” as well as the fetal skeleton standing aside an adult humerus have become quite famous in the history of anatomic illustrations.


William Cheselden (1688 – 1752) was a physician for several large London hospitals and chief surgeon in Chelsea. The editions of his Anatomy “contain very excellent copperplates differing, however, in number and content. … Among the English editions the seventh should be mentioned as particularly fine. London 1756, 8vo.” (Choulant 261).