Patrick's Rare Books

Pare, Works, Second English edition, 1649

Pare, Works, Second English edition, 1649

The Workes of that Famous Chirurgion, Ambrose Parey, Translated out of Latin and compared with the French by Tho. Johnson. Where unto are added three tractates out of Adrianus Spigelius of the veins, arteries, & nerves, with large figures. Also a table of the bookes and chapters. London, 1649.


Folio bound in full brown leather (probably 18th century), with evidence of restoration to internal and external hinges. Six raised bands and red title plate on spine. Boards a bit pocked. Small chip at top edge of spine. Book plate on front paste down. Slight crease across title page. Margins are admirably intact and untrimmed. Leaves are clean and bright. Red page edges. Binding is tight throughout. All plates and in-text figures present, including the three folding plates at the rear.

Though Ambroise Pare was a surgeon, this book includes many chapters that range far afield from medicine and surgery, including (but not limited to) incubi and succubi, miner’s encounters with subterranean demons, poisons, embalming, Pare’s journeys and/or voyages, discussions of why Pare refused to prescribe mummy dust, and copiously illustrated discussions of diverse and sundry animals and monsters. The more common topics of anatomy, physiology, wounds/trauma, diseases/pathology, surgical instruments, surgical/operative techniques, tumors, obstetrics, prescriptions/pharmaceuticals, and symptomatology are, of course, thoroughly incorporated into this work as well.

On a personal note, I must add that this book really embodies almost all that is wonderful about collecting antiquarian books. It is in English so it is still readable for most Western eyes, yet that English is 17th century so it renders it slightly curious to most 21st century readers—and gives it an added veneer of antiquity. The topics contained in each chapter are fantastic and the plates are mythological and speculative. It includes journey narratives, and blends theology, science, and philosophy seamlessly. Its folio size also adds an air of authority to it as well. Honestly, I think the only content features that are typically sought among rare book collectors which are not contained in this work are maps and scenes.

The first French edition was 1575 (Garrison-Morton 5565) and the fifth, most complete, edition was 1598. The first (1634) English edition was rendered from the 1582 Latin edition (supplemented by the French, as the title page indicates). We offer here the 1649 second English edition.


Pare (1510 – 1590) remains one the most famous surgeons in history. He was a contemporary of Andreas Vesalius. Spigelius was an anatomist in Padua who studied under Fabrici.


“The figures of Vesalius were copied and plagiarized from the beginning. Among the more shameless (was) Amboise Pare, who reproduced them without acknowledgement in 1551 and afterwards....” (Singer, 1925).