17th-Century Medical Recipe Book Sells for $6,600 at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions

A fine medical recipe book dating from 1680 sold for £3,968 in Dreweatts and Bloomsbury Auctions’ sale of Printed Books & Manuscripts on Thursday 17th April 2014.

The work entitled A Booke of Phizicke Sirgery & Walters & Cordialles, 1680, was mostly written in an extremely attractive italic hand, with symbols for various ailments and recipes including "A water that cures all kinds of ffeavers"; "Antomonie to Vomitt & Purge"; "ffor the fflux of the Belly & Bloud". Competitive bidding worldwide sent the rare manuscript book soaring over its pre-sale estimate of £1,000-1,500, eventually reaching £3,968. [Lot 29]

Recipes to cure the bite of a mad dog, toothache and sickness of the spleen from a French and Latin medical manuscript, Plusiers Receptes et Regimes Pour Solager et Guerir Plusiers Malade, 1599, sold for £1,984. [Lot 17]

Non-medical recipe books also attracted strong bidding with a late 18th century cookery book written in several hands selling for £992 [Lot 40] and a recipe by Charles Darwin’s physician, father, Dr Robert Waring Darwin, featured in another 18th century cookery book, achieving £372. [Lot 53]

Elsewhere in the sale, a strong Natural History section saw a second edition of Philip Miller’s The Gardener’s and Botanist’s Dictionary, 1807, sell for £5,580, [Lot 375] and a first edition of Jan Ingen-Housz’s important work on photosynthesis, Experiments Upon Vegetables, Discovering Their Great Power of Purifying The Common Air in the Sunshine, and of Injuring it in the Shade and at Night, achieve £1,178. In the work, Ingen-Housz “established that only the green parts of a plant can ‘restore’ the air, that they do this only when illuminated by sunlight, and that the active part of the sun’s radiation is in the visible light and not in the heat radiation.’ (DSB) [Lot 368]

Topographical works maintained popularity with Vues Pittoresques du Rhin, 1840, and two other similar works, achieving £3,472 [Lot 265] and a first edition of James Wathen’s Journal of a Voyage…To Madras and China selling for £2,976 [Lot 268].

The sale was held at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ saleroom in London’s Mayfair on Thursday 17th April. The full catalogue and results from the sale can be found online at www.bloomsburyauctions.com.

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