RIDLEY, H[umphrey].

The Anatomy of the Brain. Containing its mechanism and physiology; together with some new discoveries and corrections…

London: Printed for Sam. Smith and Benjamin Walford, Printers to the Royal Society,…1695

8vo, pp. (xvi), 200, (24), 5 folding engraved plates. Imprimatur leaf before the title, title within double ruled border. Short tear in folded corner of 2 plates, figure 4 trimmed close on one edge as usual, occasional light browning and spotting. Well bound in 1952 in full brown morocco, sides panelled in blind, spine lettered in gilt, t.e.g. Later presentation inscription on front endpaper.

FIRST EDITION. G&M 1379.1. The first book in English on neuroanatomy. “Ridley gave one of the first descriptions of the restiform body, the intracavernous venous sinuses, which he injected, and the venous drainage of the corpus striatum” (McHenry pp. 64–67). He also gave the first account of the circular venous sinus, the first English account of a pineal tumour, excellent descriptions of the dura mater and the deep cerebral nuclei, and the first detailed description of the arachnoid membrane. The beautiful copper plates were engraved by Van der Gucht from drawings by the great anatomist and surgeon William COWPER. The first plate is a superb depiction of the anastomotic channels of vessels at the base of the brain (the “circle of Willis”), better than Willis's own. Wing R1449. Russell, British Anatomy, 699: “This is an excellent book…” This first edition is very rare, considerably more so than the books of Willis and Vieussens, who, with Ridley, laid the foundations of neuroanatomy in the seventeenth century.


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