Patrick's Rare Books

Stuart, Motu Musculorum, 1738

Stuart, Motu Musculorum, 1738

Dissertatio de  Structura et Motu Musculari, Auctore Alexandro Stuart, M.D. Serenissimae Carolinae Mag. Brit. Etc. nuper Regin. Med. Ord. Coll. Reg. Med. Lond. & R.S.S. Londini: Excudit Samuel Richardson, Sumptibus Societatis ad Literas promovendas institutae, Anno 1738.


Half brown leather binding with marbled paper over boards. Raised bands, red leather title plate, and gold text and lines on spine. Mild faint scuffing of paper (slightly greater over rear board). Mild shelf wear. New end papers. Book plate of James Tait Goodrich partially adhered to front paste down. Internal and external hinges strong, though slight cracking focally in gutter prior to Introduction. Anatomic frontis present. Prior owner’s name (probably 18th century) at top of title page. Minor smudge at fore edge of title page. One pencil numeric code and two library stamps on rear of title page. Single linear black smudge involving two letters and coursing toward gutter on pg 74. Otherwise, only a few very faint marginal smudges and foxing, distant from text. Margins exceptionally large and well-retained. Attractively set in Roman font. Leaves are clean, bright, and tight throughout, and text is free of internal markings. Five folding plates at rear (Tab 3 partially in colors) explaining physiologic and mechanical principles. All plates clean, crisp, and free of tears. A remarkably fresh copy, despite ex library.


2 new blanks, original blank, frontis, title page, epistle, preface (v – xii), Introduction (i – ix), text (begins on C2: 1 – 131, errata at bottom of 131), five plates, 2 new blanks.


Measures: 10 ½ x 8 ¼ x 7/8 inches.


Waller 9332. Not in Osler, Talbott, Garrison-Morton, or Heirs.


Copies are rare on the market. We find no others currently offered, and only four copies at auction since 1976. The most recent being 2012–that copy far inferior to this one.


Alexander Stuart himself is also apparently quite elusive in bibliographies and other scholarly references. The following is from Alexander Stuart, 1673 – 1742. In 1738 he was the first Croonian lecturer in muscle physiology at the Royal Society. His Motu Musculari is an expansion of his inaugoral dissertation for his M.D. degree at Leiden in 1711. Stuart asserted that it was the function of nerve juice which controlled muscular motion. (