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You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Osteographia, or the anatomy of the bones. In fifty-six plates. By William Cheselden. Every bone in the human body is here delineated as large as the life, and again reduced to lesser scales, in order to shew them united to one another. Likewise the gradual increase of the bones, from the first appearance of ossification in the fœtus to that of an adult, their internal texture, as also the ligaments of the joints, and a great variety of diseased bones are here exhibited. This work was executed in a camera obscura contrived on purpose by the author, which renders it more exact and complete than any thing of the kind whatever; one view of such prints shewing more than the fullest and best description can possibly do.
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CHESELDEN, William (1688--1752)
Osteographia, or the anatomy of the bones. In fifty-six plates. By William Cheselden. Every bone in the human body is here delineated as large as the life, and again reduced to lesser scales, in order to shew them united to one another. Likewise the gradual increase of the bones, from the first appearance of ossification in the fœtus to that of an adult, their internal texture, as also the ligaments of the joints, and a great variety of diseased bones are here exhibited. This work was executed in a camera obscura contrived on purpose by the author, which renders it more exact and complete than any thing of the kind whatever; one view of such prints shewing more than the fullest and best description can possibly do.
London, [1753?].
[2] p., portrait frontis., LVI pl. ; 47.1 cm. (2°)

First published in 1733 in a limited edition which failed to sell. An account of the genesis of the work and the subsequent efforts to recover the costs of the plates is given by K.F. Russell in 'Osteographia of W. Cheselden', Bulletin of the History of Medicine, (1954), vol. 28, pp. 32--49 and British anatomy 1525--1800, St. Paul's Bibliographies (London 1987), no. 175. Soane's later, undated edition consists of the original plates - these are unsigned but were drawn and engraved by Gerard van der Gucht (1696--1776) - together with a new letterpress (as opposed to the original engraved) title-page. It omits Cheselden's [50]-page introductory text as well as all but one of the 30 illustrations of comparative animal skeletons by Jacob Schijnvoet (fl.1700--1733). The only survivor of the original series is Schijnvoet's etching of a deer's skeleton which is printed in this edition on the verso of pl.LVI. In place of the absent text is a single-leaf letterpress 'Explanation of the Tables' (in fact a cursory list), 435 x 271 mm., which was evidently issued as a loose half-sheet for tipping or pasting into previously bound copies (this leaf is loosely inserted in Soane's copy and has not been included in the collation given above). The frontispiece is a mezzotint portrait of Cheselden engraved by John Faber the younger (c. 1684--1756) after Jonathan Richardson the younger (1694--1771). It is signed and dated 'Faber fecit 1753' and was clearly also available as a separate print since it bears an imprint reading 'Price 2s. 6d. Sold at the Golden Head near the Church Bloomsbury Square.' (although not explicitly stated as such this was the address of Faber's printshop). The plates are numbered I--LVI top centre and are impressions of the unlettered state before the addition of figure numbers. The original drawings for this work were presented to the Library of the Royal Academy of Arts in October 1771 by Cheselden's pupil, John Belchier (1706--1785). Hooked on Books 7.6; ESTC n55712.

Copy Notes Bought from Thomas Boone for 4s. on 9 June 1804 (Priv. Corr. XVI.E.1.4). Several plates are inscribed in pencil with the names of the bones taken from the 'Explanation'. Inscribed in ink on front free-endpaper 0/18/6 / John Soane / 1805. Also in the same year, Soane received a copy of Sir Anthony Carlisle's The Croonian lecture on muscular motion (q.v.); Sir Anthony served as Professor of Anatomy at the Royal Academy from 1808 to 1824.

Binding C18th quarter sheep, marbled-paper boards.

Reference Number 1890


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