BANISTER, John. A Treatise on Chirugerie: briefly comprehending the generall and particular curation of Vlcers.

London, Thomas Harper, 1633


4to. Pp. (xvi) 166. Tp within double ruled border, floriated initials and ornaments. Bookplate of Fox Pointe Collection to pastedown, ‘John Ball his book Feb 6th 1811’ and ‘I bought this book 30th December in the year of our lord 1810’ to p. [xvi]. Light age browning, some edges uncut, a few frayed at foredge, small marginal wormtrail to gutter pp. 41-99, light water stain to upper edge pp. 109-124. A good copy in modern half calf over marbled boards.

First and only separate edition of this important treatise on surgery by the renowned English anatomist, surgeon and teacher John Banister (1533-1610). It focuses on understanding and treating ulcers, and draws from authors including Antonius Calmeteus Vergesatus and Jean Tagault.  Banister was sent to assist Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick in 1563 to relieve Le Havre in the aftermath of the First War of Religion. During the siege Banister became closely acquainted with another well-known English surgeon, William Clowes (1543/4-1604). Banister studied at Oxford and received his surgery license in 1573 before embarking on another expedition, this time under the command of Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, to the Low Countries in 1585. He was involved in a number of important surgical publications, including Hans Jacob Wecker’s treatise from 1585, as well as his own successful folio ‘The Historie of Man, sucked from the sap of the most approved Anatomists’, published in 1578.  

The text is taken from the major posthumous publication entitled ‘The Workes of that Famous Chyrurgian, Mr. John Banester’, 1633. This was split into five “bookes”: on tumours, on wounds, on ulcers, on fractures and luxations and on his “Antidotary, being a storehouse of all sorts of medicines belonging to the chyrurgians use…”. This book contains a treatise on chirurgerie, how to cure ulcers, various experiments of Banister’s own invention, a diet which claims to help cure ulcers taken from the medical work of Angerius Ferrerius, and finally “A certaine compendious and profitable description of the natural temperatures, and divers operations of simple medicines, diligently collected, and truly practiced”. The work advises on a number of remedies, listed along with preparation instructions and the respective quantities to ingest. With regard to the recommended diet, Banister states that onions, garlic, scallions and leeks are beneficial. He also praises toadstools as an effective ulcer deterrent. Banister states that a person’s mental state can increase their risk of ulcers: he states “use mirth, and avoid sadnesse”.

The work is dedicated to Thomas Stanhope (1540-1596), Member of Parliament for Nottinghamshire, High Sheriff for Nottinghamshire and Sheriff for Derbyshire and father of Sir John Stanhope (1559-1611).

Three copies in UK, only two in US at Folger and University of Kansas, School of Medicine. ESTC S113619; Wellcome 659 for his ‘Workes’ (which this volume is taken from); Not in Lowndes; Not in Durling; Not in Heirs of Hippocrates; Not in Garrison & Morton.
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