Anatomy, Descriptive and Surgical - Henry Gray F.R.S., Henry Vandyke Carter M.D. (illustrator) 1859 - Blanchard and Lea, Philadelphia - First American Edition A superb copy, in the original publisher’s sheep binding and endpapers, the black spine label complete, binding without restoration or rebind, text and illustrations clean, no attempts to colour the illustrations, no handwriting. Rare as such.

Gray’s Anatomy, the book that brought the beauty of the human form to the masses, has remained a landmark text in medical study since its first appearance in print. The first edition, published in England in 1858, was found to have a good many errors, most of which were corrected in this, the first American edition. The corrections, improvements and new index are outlined in the publisher’s note at the beginning of the work.

Illustrated with 363 wood-engraved illustrations by Gray’s colleague and assistant, Henry Vandyke Carter.

‘The success of the book was not due to an absence of rivals. There were already several texts on anatomy... Gray's
Anatomy, however, eclipsed all others, partly for its meticulous detail, partly for its emphasis on surgical anatomy, but most of all perhaps for the excellence of the illustrations, based on drawings by H. V. Carter [1831-97], who assisted Gray with the dissections, and engraved by Messrs Butterworth and Heath with remarkable skill. The design of the book, and the skill with which the illustrations were interpolated in the text, could hardly have been improved. For a man in his early thirties it was a remarkable achievement’ [ODNB].
  Anatomy became a bestseller from it’s first publication in 1858. Almost impossibly thorough, it was considered both precise and poetic, and garnered rave reviews from various medical journals of the time. Its descriptions of the mysterious inner workings of the human body were not only appealing to scientists and scholars, but also to curious members of the general public who were interested in what lay beneath the exterior of the human form.

Henry Gray (1827-61) was born in Belgravia, London, to an aristocratic family. He began his medical studies at the age of eighteen at St. George’s Hospital, where he would later graduate and be appointed surgeon, anatomist and lecturer at the tender age of twenty-one – an impressive feat for someone so young. In 1852, Gray was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and in 1858 published the first edition of Anatomy, Descriptive and Surgical. Throughout his life, Gray was recognised for his keen eye for details, and for his painstaking and methodical research. Sadly he was struck by an attack of smallpox, while treating his nephew, and died in 1861 at the age of thirty-four.

Henry Vandyke Carter (1831-97) was born in Hull, and educated at Hull Grammar School, before apprenticing as an apothecary-surgeon and taking medical courses at St. George’s Hospital, where he would first meet fellow student, Henry Gray. Although it is Gray’s name that is universally connected to this monumental, anatomical tome, Vandyke Carter played an important role assisting Gray with dissections and meticulously recording each tendon, tissue, bone and muscle in the process. Together, they collaborated to produce the 363 illustrations for Gray’s landmark ‘
Anatomy, Descriptive and Surgical’.

Provenance” Ownership stamp of J. Chas. Carson to front pastedown.

References: Grolier,
One Hundred Books Famous in Medicine, 68. Lilly Library, Notable Medical Books, 211. Garrison-Morton Heirs of Hippocrates 1915, 418. Flatt, ‘Happy Birthday, Gray’s Anatomy’ Baylor University Medical Centre 2009. Rosenhek, ‘Dissecting Gray’s Anatomy’ Doctor’s Review 2009. Richardson, The Making of Mr Gray’s Anatomy 2008.

Thick quarto (binding size 26.8x18.5cm), pp. [2] xxxii 754 [2] 80 (publisher’s catalogue of ‘Medical and Scientific Publications’ dated July, 1859.


‘Henry Gray [1825-1861] began the preface to the first edition of his Anatomy thus: 'This work is intended to furnish the Student and Practitioner with an accurate view of the Anatomy of the Human Body, and more especially the application of this science to Practical Surgery.' Such was the success of this enterprise that the first edition, seven hundred and fifty copies was sold out within two years, and the book has continued to appear in revised editions up to the present... The first American edition was published in June 1859 by Blanchard and Lea in Philadelphia, utilizing a complete set of wood blocks imported for the illustrations’ [Grolier].

"The work was superior to other treatises on anatomy in three areas—the lucid and logical arrangement of a mass of detailed description; clear new drawings based on dissections by the surgeon-author and the artist, a physician; and sections on the surgical anatomy of defined areas, such as the axilla, the elbow, the popliteal space, the perineum, and the laryngotracheal region" [Lilly Library].
  In publisher’s binding of full speckled sheep, spine with raised bands ruled in gilt, black morocco spine label lettered and ruled in gilt, all edges trimmed.   Condition: Near fine, light spotting to first and last few pages, toning to top edge, in very good binding, damp staining to outer edges of boards affecting endpapers, rubbing to edges and corners, upper hinge starting.   Ref: 110601   Price: HK$ 65,000