Patrick's Rare Books

Read, Chirurgorum comes, 1687

Read, Chirurgorum comes, 1687

Chirurgorum comes: Or The Whole Practice Of Chirurgery. Begun by the Learned Dr. Read; Continued and Completed By a Member of the College of Physicians in London. Licensed, Feb. 15. 1686/7. London. Printed by Edw. Jones, for Christopher Wilkinson at the Black Boy in Fleet street, over against St. Dustans Church, 1687.


Contains the first English summaries of two earlier landmark publications in forensic medicine and plastic surgery. Also, the final chapter on embalming is an early English language contribution to that topic as well.


Octavo. Early or original brown full leather over boards, rebacked. Likely in 19th century. Corners and other points on boards patched. Spine leather creased longitudinally, but hinges and binding strong.


415-473 Is a summary of Forunato Fidele’s De Relationibus Medicorum (published in Palermo in 1602), making this an early (first?) English chapter on forensic medicine. An argument could be potentially made that the chapter on surgeon’s reports in the Works of Ambroise Pare (first English of 1634) may compete for the title of First.

Book II contains an English summary of Gaspare Tagliocozzi’s (1545-1599) method of rhinoplasty. No complete translation existed at the time of the publication of the Chirurgorum Comes.


“Alexander Read (Rhead, Reid), anatomist and surgeon, born probably prior to 1580, was educated at Aberdeen University and studied medicine in Germany and France. … He enjoyed great repute among his contemporaries, particularly for his book on anatomy. Read died in 1641, forty-six years before the publication of the Chirurgorum comes, and the use of his name by the unknown compiler of this work indicates the respect his name still commanded. Among the many medical books which Read left to Marischal College, Aberdeen, was a copy of Tagliacozzi’s De curtorum chirurgia. Thus, though the translation in the Chirurgorum comes was made by the compiler, its inclusion reflects Read’s own interest in the subject.” (Gnudi & Webster)


Early annotations written on ffep, 654, 705 & 706. Some underlining. Trimmed near, or occasionally slightly into, running titles. F8 small hole with partial loss of one word. Y2 & Pp2 ragged fore-edge. Dd3 & Nn1 bottom corner torn encroaching on text. Occasional marginal stains and smudges. Scattered old damp and mildew stains within text, mostly in the back half of the book and most prominent examples are on pages 449 & 596. Pages 713/714 with several tears in text and some tape repair.


New pastedowns and ffep, blank, full title, A^4, a^8, B– T^8, V^8, X-Uu^8, Xx-Yy^8, new rfep. Pagination continuous. Textually complete.


One plate of surgical instruments follows T5 (pg 282).