The Fabrica of Andreas Vesalius sheds a fresh light on the book’s vibrant reception history and documents how physicians, artists, theologians and collectors filled its pages with copious annotations.
It also offers a novel interpretation of how an early anatomical textbook became one of the most coveted rare books for collectors in the 21st century.
This brevity of description makes it difficult to identify the copy in question, which in turn means that it is difficult to guarantee that the same copy, sold in different sales in different countries was not counted as two separate copies.
Unfortunately, unless an owner, knowing the provenance of his or her copy, recognizes it on the list of those sold at auction, there is no way of remedying this particular problem.
Also provided is the list of copies known to have been sold through auction houses and dealers during the last century (Table ).
These copies are placed in the chronological order of their last appearance on the market.
Twenty one of the copies sold at auction were subsequently bought by dealers of which nineteen (90%) were UK dealers.
Eleven books are definitely in private collections today; another three were initially bought privately but could not be found.Within the boundaries of their client confidentiality, both companies have enabled the present owners of most copies to be established.Auction and dealer sales in the United Kingdom were examined from the year 1900 to 2006.Once it had been ascertained which institutions owned copies of the 1555 edition, requests were sent to the relevant librarians for any bibliographical details that did not appear in their online catalogues.In some cases, such further information was not available and wherever possible, the original copy was then examined in person in the United Kingdom.Even those auction houses that are still in business are unlikely to be in possession of any further information.