KEY, Axel (1832-1901), and Magnus Gustaf RETZIUS (1842-1919)
Studien in der Anatomie des Nervensystems und des Bindegewebes
Stockholm: P.A. Norstedt & Söner for Samson & Wallin, 1875-1876. 2 volumes, folio. (16 x 12 inches). Half-titles. 75 fine plates after N. O. Björkman, Th. Lundberg and A. Rosengren (comprised of 57 lithographs [3 folding, 25 printed in two or more colours] by Schlacter & Seedorff (Stockholm), or J.G.E. N. Strassberger, J.G. Bach or E.A. Funke [all of Leipzig]; 18 uncoloured engravings by W. Grohmann [Berlin], Jenny Hansen [Copenhagen] or Thornam [Copenhagen]).
Publisher's brown half morocco over cloth-covered boards, title in gilt on upper covers, spines in five compartments with raised bands, lettered in gilt in the second and fourth compartments, volume numbers in gilt in the third, gilt edges.
The first edition of this important and beautifully printed and illustrated colour-plate book and a landmark work in the history of neuropathology which established the reputations of its authors. "As a work of art and of scientific accuracy, the two volumes of beautifully colored lithographs rank with the best [medical] atlases of any age" (Heirs of Hippocrates).
"One of the most strikingly beautiful neuroanatomies ever published, with exquisite reproductions of the colour dye injection experiments. The authors confirmed the existence of the foramina of Magendie and Luschka, and studied the movement of the cerebrospinal fluid" (Garrison-Morton). The coloured plates have the spectacularly-beautiful quality of 20th-century abstract art compositions, whilst still clearly showing the organic nature of the origins of the images. These were produced by artist/technicians who were absolute masters of their medium: they are not only an important record of scientific discovery but also a monument to the technically most-accomplished period in lithographic printing. Axel Key, professor of pathological anatomy and rector of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, together with his assistant, Gustaf Retzius, published this work on the anatomy of the nervous system with special regard to the cerebrospinal fluid pathways. This magnum opus met wide international success. Because of it, Key became one of the leading authorities in the emerging discipline of neuropathology, and one of the most influential figures in European academic medicine in the late 19th century. Retzius dedicated much of the rest of his life to scientific research, particularly the histology of the sense organs and nervous system, and went on to publish over 300 scientific works on a wide range of subjects. This set is without the supplement (76 pp. and 8 plates, Stockholm, 1903) as usual: this was apparently limited to just 25 copies.
Cushing K64; Garrison-Morton 1408.2; Heirs of Hippocrates 1974; Waller 5279 (vol.I only); Haymaker & Schiller, p. 71.