BOOKS & MANUSCRIPTSMagna Carta: The charter that shaped the worldRead more
‘It could be described as a 16th century Google Maps for the human body,’ says books and manuscripts specialist Sven Becker of Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabrica. ‘It was a revolutionary publication at a time when human dissection was still profoundly taboo, and is an incredibly important work in its own right.’
It was in the process of researching the provenance of this rare book from 1543, however, that Becker made a remarkable discovery — it belonged to Hans Sloane (1660-1753), the royal physician and renowned connoisseur whose collection became the foundation of the British Museum.
Hans Sloane’s copy of Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabrica. Basel: 1543. Estimate: £70,000-100,000. This book is offered in our sale of Valuable Books and Manuscripts including Cartography in London on 15 July
‘The provenance was not recorded when the book came to us,’ explains Becker, ‘and I will always remember that moment of discovery when it clicked and I put all the pieces together. Specialists live for that rush — the memory of it keeps us going while we look through mountains of family bibles!’
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