Patrick's Rare Books

SOLD Cowper, Myotomia Reformata, 1724

SOLD Cowper, Myotomia Reformata, 1724

Myotomia Reformata: or an Anatomical Treatise on the Muscles of the Human Body. Illustrated with Figures after the Life. By the late Mr. William Cowper, Surgeon and Fellow of the Royal Society. To which is prefix’d an Introduction concerning Muscular Motion. London: Printed for Robert Knaplock, and William and John Innys, in St. Paul’s Church-Yard; and Jacob Tonson, in the Strand. 1724. An imposing folio volume measuring 21 x 15 x 2 ½ inches, in full brown leather with rasied bands on spine and thick boards, having been rebacked at some point. Title plate and gold detailing on spine, as well as boards. Leather a bit scuffed and chipped but not crumbling. Internal hinges reinforced. Small bookplate on front pastedown. Gilt page edges. Frontis present. Title page in red and black ink. Clean, bright, and tight throughout with astounding margins well retained. The typesetting is wonderful to behold with fonts of imposing size. The blocks for the historiated capitals and the plates deeply indent the thick paper upon which this work was printed. The anatomy displayed is highly artistic yet scientifically accurate. The preliminary matters in this work consider the labors of past researchers and authors (such as Fallopius and Vesalius), before giving an elaborate treatment of the biomechanics of musculoskeletal and osteoarticular motion. This is followed by an exquisitely rendered survey of the anatomy of the muscles of the human body. The book concludes with a Syllabus Musculorum. Promethean and other Graeco-Roman vignettes embellish chapter heads and conclusions.Fearing no accusations of sensationalism, we feel compelled to remark (while borrowing and blending from Poe and from cinema) that words are impotent to convey any just idea of the size and eminence of this book, which is a monument to its time and to the labors of the men who wrought anatomic and medical research (and printing!) from the 17th century into the 18th. This book is wonderful to behold. “This work made a modest first appearance in 1694 as an octavo, but Cowper worked until his death on a new edition which was finally published posthumously under the supervision and at the expense of Richard Mead (1673-1754). This sumptuous folio with engravings after Rubens and Raphael and ingenious set of historiated initials ranks among the most artistic anatomical atlases of the period.” Garrison-Morton 392.1 “William Cowper had been born at Paterfield, Sussex, and at sixteen was apprenticed to William Bignall, a London Surgeon. In 1691 Cowper settled in London, and three years later published Myotomia Reformata..., which was reprinted at the expense of Mead in 1724. This is an excellent book.... He (Cowper) became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1696, and died in 1709 at Bishop Sutton, Hampshire, to which place he had retired.” “Dr. Johnson once said” ‘Dr. Mead lived more in the broad sunshine of life than almost any man,’ and when he died on February 16, 1754, he had certainly lived a very comfortable existence throughout his career.” Thornton, Medical Books, Libraries, and Collectors, Revised and enlarged edi