Vesalius’ 1543 Fabrica: who owned it and how was it used?

University of Glasgow Library

Jean Gallet (?) records from where he got his Fabrica (Sp Coll Bi6-a.5) Jean Gallet (?) records his acquisition of the Fabrica from surgeon, Paul Arbellot (Sp Coll Bi6-a.5)

When it comes to Andreas Vesalius (1514–1564) and his De Humani Corporis Fabrica considerable quantities of ink have been spilled over the years detailing the groundbreaking contributions to the history of medicine, the history of book illustration and to the spread of scientific knowledge. To quote a leading expert, Professor Vivian Nutton, the Fabrica is ‘one of the great books of the world, in every sense of the word’*. We hold two copies of the 1543 first edition (alongside a range of other important Vesalius works) which we’ve written about at length previously. However, what we haven’t discussed is who owned these books – their provenance. What sorts of people would buy a copy of the Fabrica and is there any evidence remaining in our books as to how they might have been read…

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