London: J. and A. Churchill, 1872. Folio, 28 chromolithographed and three uncoloured lithographed plates. Publisher's burgundy cloth titled in gilt to upper board, a few blemishes, rebacked with original spine laid down, a few tears restored. Inscribed "With Dr. Fayrer's Comps.", the bookplate of Edward Taylor.
Sir Joseph Fayrer (1824-1907) was a surgeon and physician who in 1850 left England for Calcutta to become assistant surgeon in Bengal. His connection with the Indian Medical Service (IMS) lasted for forty-five years, half of it in England. Fayrer was a prolific writer on Indian climatology, the pathology of Indian diseases, sanitation, and above all on venomous snakes. The Thanatophidia of India is a classic contribution to the literature of snakes and snakebites. Printed by the Indian government it was illustrated with spectacular coloured plates from life by members of the Calcutta School of Art. The book embodies all Fayrer's experiments and researches, accounts of which were forwarded from India to Dr F. C. Webb, who put them into literary shape. From Fayrer's enquiries came the permanganate treatment of venomous snakebites. But his main conclusions were that there then existed no absolute antidote, and that safety was to be attained only when the bite was in such a position as to make the application of a ligature between it and the heart possible, together with the use of cautery.
"One of the classics on venomous snakes ... The double-page illustration of the King cobra is one of the most imposing drawings of a snake ever published" (Adler II p 97).
Nissen ZBI 1339; BM(NH) p 560.
Price: $6,500.00 AU