A TUDOR BARBER AND SURGEON’S HANDBOOK, in English, manuscript on paper and vellum [England, probably London, first half 16th century]
A revealing insight into the daily life of a barber-surgeon in Tudor England: a compilation of apparently unpublished recipes and treatises on everything from bloodletting to polyps, drawing on a variety of medieval sources like Lanfranc of Milan (c.1250-1306), possibly composed – and certainly owned – by Charles Whyte, Barber Surgeon of the City of London.
(1) CHARLES WHYTE, Barber Surgeon of the City of London in 1532, perhaps the author of these texts: his inscription 'Charles Whyte barber & cerg[...] owys thys boke', on f.239. In his will of 1545 he bequeaths a number of books, one of which – a treatise on surgery – is now British Library Sloane 776. Perhaps this was one of the books bequeathed to his apprentice, John Colmay. (2) Numerous near-contemporary annotations and added recipes for ointments and medicines. (3) 17th-century ownership notes of Robert Lambert and Benjamin Jonston on ff.12-13 and of Charles Hobson on f.233v. (4) BOIES PENROSE (1860-1921), American lawyer and Republican politician from Pennsylvania. No 9 in De Ricci, Census, p.1996. By descent to Boies Penrose II and his sale at Sotheby’s, 28 January 1947, lot 79.
On wounds and bruises, pains, and aches ff.3-84v; On bloodletting ff.85-87v; On ‘apostumes’ (abscesses and swellings), gouts, tremors and concussions ff.88-208v; On ulcers, swellings and polyps ff.208v-233; On memory ff.234-239; various recipes ff.239v-241v.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION AND CONDITION:
c.200 x c.140. i + 237 + i leaves, modern foliation 3-241 followed here, apparently COMPLETE, text of varying number of lines, ruled space: c.140 x c.100 (margins of some of the leaves cropped or excised, not affecting text, e.g. to ff.62-63, edges sometimes frayed, occasional marginal staining and erasures). Modern blind-tooled morocco.