CHESELDEN, William. Osteographia, or the Anatomy of the Bones. London: [William Bowyer for the author?], 1733.
Large 2o (505 x 350 mm). Engraved frontispiece, engraved title with royal arms on verso, engraved dedication with engraved deer skeleton on verso, 25 leaves with 29 engravings (vignettes and head-pieces) in text and 112 engraved plates comprising 2 sets of 56 numbered engraved plates by Jacob Schijnvoet and Gerard van der Gucht, and with SEVEN ADDITIONAL PLATES OF ANIMAL SKELETONS (some occasional pale spotting or soiling). Presentation binding of red morocco gilt, sides with wide gilt-floral borders, edges gilt (rebacked preserving original spine); cloth folding case. Provenance: Martin Folkes (1690-1754, presentation inscription from the author); Sir John Hayford Thorold (1773-1831, Syston Park bookplate, his notes on rear pastedown?); Anson W. Ward (label presenting the book to:) American Museum of Natural History (bookplate, library pocket on rear pastedown).
THE MOST FAMOUS AND AMONG THE MOST ARTISTICALLY INTERESTING OSTEOLOGICAL ATLASES EVER PRODUCED-- Norman
FIRST EDITION. PRESENTATION COPY, BOUND WITH SEVEN ADDITIONAL PLATES AND INSCRIBED BY CHESELDEN on the final plate: "These last seven plates are only in this book of my much honour'd friend Martin Folkes, Esq. W. Cheselden 3 Feb. 1736/7." Printed on thick paper and large folio format allowing natural-size illustrations of the separate human bones. The great accuracy of the large plates of adult, fetal and pathological bones lies both in Cheselden's innovative use of the camera obscura, which he was the first to employ for the purpose of book illustration and in his intervention in the drawing and engraving processes. Complete copies of this work are rare. 400 copies were printed, but only a small number of books were sold to subscribers. To make up for the financial loss, many of the sets were broken up, so the plates could be sold individually. The additional plates in this copy are presumably proofs of potential plates for the first section of the book, where the plates were integrated with the text.
A FINE ASSOCIATION: Martin Folkes was a scientist-scholar who at the age of 23 was elected fellow of the Royal Society. He was held in such esteem that he president as president of the society in the absence of Isaac Newton, and was formally elected President in 1741, succeeding Sir Hans Sloan. He studied coins and artifacts and published his Table of Silver Coins from the Conquest in 1744. Choulant-Frank, p.261; Garrison-Morton 395; Heirs of Hippocrates 814; Norman 466; Russell 173; Waller 1941; Wellcome II, p. 335.