17 June 2008
WITHERING, William (1741-1799). An Account of the Foxglove, and some of its Medical Uses. Birmingham: M. Swinney for G.G.J. and J. Robinson, 1785.
8o (210 x 128 mm). Half-title. Hand-coloured folding engraved plate by James Sowerby (small repairs not affecting the image, one small tear near the gutter crossing a lower leaf). Contemporary quarter calf, marbled paper boards (front cover nearly detached, extremities and spine rubbed); cloth slipcase. Provenance: F.S. (contemporary bookplate).
"ONE OF THE CLASSICS IN PHARMACOLOGY" (Eimas Heirs)
FIRST EDITION of Withering's magnum opus containing the results of ten years of observations of the treatment of congestive heart failure with the leaves of the common foxglove (Digitalis purpurea). In 1775 Withering began to study the therapeutic properties popularly ascribed to the foxglove, and ten years later published the results of his studies in this work, which describes the case histories of 158 patients treated with foxglove, of whom 101 who suffered congestive heart failure experienced relief. It is interesting to note that the current use and dosage of digitalis has hardly changed since Withering published his recommendations: "One could learn to use digitalis effectively and safely if one had no other text than Withering's Account of the Foxglove" (Estes and White, quoted by Norman). The folding plate is a reversed copy of the plate in Curtis's Flora Londinensis with two lower leaves pointing to the left and with the artist's name appearing lower right. Heirs of Hippocrates 1039; Garrison-Morton 1836; Hunt 676; Norman 2255; Waller 10378.
WITHERING, William. An Account of the Scarlet Fever and Sore Throat, or Scarletina Anginosa, Particularly as It Appeared in Birmingham in 1778. Birmingham: by M. Swinney for G.G. Robinson, 1793.
8o. Second edition, with "Some Remarks on the Nature and Cure of the ulcerated Sore Throat." First published in 1779 Withering returned to the subject of his medical thesis of 1766 and first published work. Garrison-Morton 5079; Norman 2254 (note).
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