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A RENAISSANCE MEDICAL RECIPE BOOK, in Latin, manuscript on paper [Italy, perhaps Rome, c.1550s]
A RENAISSANCE MEDICAL RECIPE BOOK, in Latin, manuscript on paper [Italy, perhaps Rome, c.1550s]
A RENAISSANCE MEDICAL RECIPE BOOK, in Latin, manuscript on paper [Italy, perhaps Rome, c.1550s]
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A RENAISSANCE MEDICAL RECIPE BOOK, in Latin, manuscript on paper [Italy, perhaps Rome, c.1550s]

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A RENAISSANCE MEDICAL RECIPE BOOK, in Latin, manuscript on paper [Italy, perhaps Rome, c.1550s]

A 16th-century Italian medical recipe book: a rare witness to Renaissance medical knowledge, including passages on humoral properties, descriptions of specific maladies and the treatments required to combat them, and a glossary with instructive information on the preparation of pills, powders, soaps – including Girolamo Fracastoro’s (1478-1553) lotion for the treatment of syphilis.

275 x 200mm. 79 leaves, complete, c.22 lines, catchwords survive, modern foliation in pencil followed here (first blank lead torn at top right edge, occasional staining and spotting, especially to margins, minor wormholing to final leaves). Contemporary Italian blind-stamped leather over thin pasteboard (rebacked, edges scuffed).

Provenance: The watermark of the paper matches Briquet 1702, and is localisable to Rome c.1550 – The text mentions the thermal baths of Abano, Porretta, Viterbo, Siena, Lucca and Carpi – Reiss & Sohn, Wervolle Bücher Dekorative Graphik, Auktion 65, 22-25 April 1998, lot 4.

Content: The manuscript divides loosely into three parts: the first (ff.2-12) is a general discussion on treatments and their application in relation to their humoral properties, drawing on Galen; the second (ff.13-54v) deals with various parts of the body and their respective ailments, and the remedies and treatments required to combat them; follows a list of known ailments (Morborum nomina ff.55-56v) and a glossary of a variety of known treatments, including information on the preparation of pills, ointments, powders, soaps and lotions – many of which were commonly used by Renaissance apothecaries (ff.57-76).
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Robert Tyrwhitt
Robert Tyrwhitt

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