THE SURGICAL PLATES FROM THE “ENCYCLOPEDIE
Stock Number: 8425
For sale, 18th century French volume of surgical plates and explanatory text from the Diderot / d'Alembert "Encyclopedie...des arts et metiers."
10-3/4 x 16-1/2 inches (27 x 42 cm)
c. second half 18th century
Country of manufacture
THE SURGICAL PLATES FROM THE “ENCYCLOPEDIE,” French, second half 18th century, the bound volume measuring 10-3/4″ x 16-1/2″ (27 x 42 cm), comprising four pages of descriptive legends and 39 wonderful full-page plates. First is the splendid allegorical frontispiece, depicting a figure of Surgery carefully pruning a tree, while children tend to medicinal plants and perform other surgical interventions (one representing orthopedics). A stork flies overhead and all is centered on the statue of Esculapius. This is followed by quite detailed engravings of surgical instruments, some in use. This fine set is complete and in good condition. It is one section of the massive Encyclopedie ou dictionnaire raisonne de sciences des arts et des metiers by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert, published from 1751 to 1766, with supplements and revisions in 1772, 1777, and 1780. It embodied the ideals of the Enlightenment, aiming to provide full access to human knowledge, to destroy superstitious beliefs, “to change the way people think.” But it challenged Catholic dogma, and was officially banned in 1759, yet was permitted to continue complete publication.
Ask the Dealer
David and Yola Coffeen both have enjoyed academic careers, as planetary astronomer and as linguist/educator. But since 1982 (yes, 1982!) they have been full-time dealers in early scientific and medical instruments, under the name Tesseract. Selling primarily by catalogue (over 100 issued so far) they also have a web presence at www.etesseract.com, and can be contacted at [email protected].