Just What the Doctor Ordered: Original Manuscripts of Medical Recipes
This medical manuscript dating from 1599, handwritten in French and Latin and entitled “Ravier Plusiers receptes et regimes pour solager et guerir plusiers malade,” includes recipes for the bite of a mad dog, toothache, sickness of the spleen, sickness of the lungs, and cure of a sick child. It is estimated to sell for £1,000 to £1,500.
LONDON – Advances in modern medicine make it very hard to imagine a time without prescription pills and high-tech medical equipment but Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ April 17 sale of Printed Books and Manuscripts offers buyers an insight into the world of medicine as it was more than 400 years ago, with antique manuscripts featuring entries detailing the recipes for concoctions that would, among other things, help alleviate “the ffalling Sicknesse (sic).”
Two medical manuscripts in particular offer a fascinating insight into medical recipes used from the 16th century to cure ailments. The first, a medical manuscript dating from 1599, is handwritten in French and Latin and entitled “Ravier Plusiers receptes et regimes pour solager et guerir plusiers malade” and decorated with pen and ink illustrations. This piece includes recipes for the bite of a mad dog, toothache, sickness of the spleen, sickness of the lungs, and cure of a sick child, it is estimated to sell for £1,000 to £1,500.
The second manuscript from 1680 is entitled “A Booke of Phizicke Sirgery & Walters & Cordialles,” is beautifully handwritten and uses symbols (explained with a key at the end) for various ailments. Recipes include “A water that cures all kinds of ffeavers,” “A stronge Sement,” “To bright the Hares,” “Mercurye water,” “Antomonie to Vomitt & Purge,” “Tincutre of Corrall,” “Piles,” “ffor the fflux of the Belly & Bloud,” “The ffalling Sicknesse,” “Redd oyle of Vitrioll,” “Creame of Tartari,” “Ague” and “My owne seere cloath.” This unique book is also estimated at £1,000 to £1,500.
Italian general and politician Giuseppe Garibaldi wrote this note ordering six bottles of cognac and six bottles of Vermouth. It is among a lot of some 130 letters and signatures that could bring between £1,500 to £2,000.
An album of 130 letters and signatures from some of Britain’s most famous literary, artistic and political figures is a wonderful lot for ephemera collectors. The items, collected between 1861 and 1915, includes letters from Alfred Tennyson, Gertrude Jekyll, E.H. Shepard, J.M. Barrie, Rudyard Kipling, H.G. Wells, E.V. Lucas, Giuseppe Garibaldi (ordering six bottles of cognac and six bottles of Vermouth), and three from Robert Baden-Powell. In addition to these, there are cut signatures of John Singer Sargent, Conan Doyle, Lord Esher, Hubert Parry, Charles Lyall and Aston Webb which are mostly laid down and bound in a contemporary vellum album with ink floral decoration on upper cover and cloth ties. The unique collection is estimated at £1,500 to £2,000.
From manuscripts to printed books, and a sixth edition of “Goya y Lucientes (Francisco José de) – La Tauromaquia” (1929) is one of only 200 produced. Comprising 40 etched plates with aquatint to represent Romantic poet and printmaker Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes’ magnificent series on bull-fighting, Goya himself said that the book is “an idea of the beginnings, progress and present state of these celebrations in Spain.” First published in 1816 as a series of 33 plates, the copy here includes the seven rejected plates from the first edition. The well-preserved example is estimated at £4,000 to £6,000.
The renowned “R.W. Lamb collection of Phaedrus and Phaedriana, editions, translations” is offered as one of the most exceptional highlights. Compiled by a well-regarded biographer of Plato’s “Phaedrus,” R. W. Lamb, the collection comprises editions and translations of the fables, to the late 20th century and secondary works on the author and the genre. The collection is estimated to sell for £7,000 to £10,000.
Elsewhere in the sale the renowned “R.W. Lamb collection of Phaedrus and Phaedriana, editions, translations” is offered as one of the most exceptional highlights. Compiled by a well-regarded biographer of Plato’s “Phaedrus,” R. W. Lamb, the collection comprises editions and translations of the fables, from the Chatsworth house copy of the editio princeps of 1596, to the late twentieth century and secondary works on the author and the genre, many of which are now rare. Phaedrus was one of two protagonists created by Plato, and was probably born a Thracian slave who lived in Italy during the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula and Claudius and produced the first collections in Latin of the fables of Aesop and others. A full list of the collection is available from the auctioneer on request, and the collection is estimated to sell for £7,000 to £10,000.
The auction will be held in London in the heart of Mayfair. The catalogue and details of online bidding with no additional fee can be found at the Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions website.
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