GEMINUS, Thomas (1510-1562). Compendiosa totius anatomie delineatio, aere exarata, in English. Translated by Nicholas Udall (1505-56). London: Nicholas Hyll for Thomas Geminus, .
Chancery broadsheets (357 x 250 mm). 58 irregularly signed typographical sheets printed on both sides of the paper, 41 unnumbered engraved sheets (one folding) from the 1545 Latin edition, printed on one side. Engraved armorial, architectural and allegorical title (neatly backed with archival tissue), author's 1-page dedication to Edward VI, translator's 1-page prologue "To the ientill readers and Surgeons of Englande", text in double column, black letter, 8-, 6- and 4-line cribl metalcut initials, the illustrations comprising the fold-out engraving of the external anatomy of Adam and Eve, 3 skeletal engravings, 16 muscular engravings, 5 arterial and venal engravings, 4 neural engravings, 6 engravings of organs, 4 cerebral engravings, and one engraving of ocular parts and surgical instruments, many of the engravings with several separately numbered figures, all by the author after Vesalian woodcuts. (Title slightly cropped and with a few very small abraded spots, 5 engravings including folding plate remargined, with slight loss to a caption of first female organ plate and to outer edges of instrument plate, first cerebral plate cropped at fore-margin, short tear entering platemark of third muscle plate, fol. D5 perhaps supplied from a smaller copy, with a few small repaired tears and fore-margin extended, mostly marginal repaired tears to about 10 text leaves, A4 with headlines cropped, dampstaining affecting some text leaves and 10 plates, E4 and E5 reversed.) Reversed calf antique, 18th-century morocco lettering-piece on spine; morocco-backed folding case.
FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH, EXTREMELY RARE FIRST ISSUE WITH THE UNDATED TITLE. Geminus explains in his dedication that the Latin edition of 1545 had been widely disseminated throughout Italy, France, Spain, Germany, "and other foren parties", and that he has therefore heeded the advice of several friends to produce an English translation, for the benefit of England's "unlatined Surgeons"; being himself insufficiently versed in English, he has used for this the services of the playwright Nicholas Udall. In fact, Udall translated only the Vesalian indices to the plates; as accompanying text Geminus chose an early translation of Henri de Mondeville's Surgery, which was incorporated into Thomas Vicary's Profitable treatise of the anatomie of mans bodie (the 1548 edition of which no copy seems to survive). In Geminus's anatomy this text and his plates are rearranged "to follow the traditional order of conducting a dissection, beginning with the viscera and ending with the bones in order to dissect first those parts which would most quickly putrefy" (Norman), instead of the Galenic order used by Vesalius.
The English edition apparently enjoyed a success at least equal to its Latin predecessor, but very few copies have survived the heavy use to which its readers subjected it. Of this first issue, with the title in its original undated state, STC lists only three copies, all in the U.K., of one which (the Wellcome copy) is imperfect. A few more copies are known of the second and third issues, with titles dated respectively 1553 and 1559. The Norman copy is probably the only copy of the first issue remaining in private hands, and it appears to be the first complete copy of any issue to come up at auction in 50 years or more. Cushing VI.C.-2; STC 11715.5; Wellcome 2732; Norman 887.