Early maps of the human body - Yazzy's at

The Economist

BODY.jpgTOM Lecky is an engaging chap in his mid-thirties who loves books. He liked the feel of them when he was a child. When he grew up, he started collecting of modern American poetry and mountaineering adventures. He became a book seller, though not of the conventional variety. He joined Christie’s book department and took part in what he recalls as “the exuberance” of the record-breaking $18.7m sale of the Haskell F Norman collection of medical books in 1998.

Next week’s sale of “Anatomy as Art” will be a more sober affair. There are no cupboards and no skeletons in this sale room. Being Mr Lecky’s sale, the objects are mostly books, some of them very hefty volumes indeed, about the human frame. “They are representations of the human body over time, but we approached them as art history,” says Mr Lecky. This suits Dean Edell, whose collection is being sold.

Dr Edell is an ophthalmologist who has become rich and famous thanks to the success of eponymous radio program, which has been elucidating complex medical issues in laymen's terms for almost 30 years. Despite his success, however, he would much rather have been an artist.

Collecting old medical books is a compromise of a kind: he might not be able to execute anatomy as art, but he can look at it. He started buying seriously 15 years ago, and built an enviable collection. “But there comes a point when there are very few things to add,” he explains. “You hit a wall.” The wall he hit left him with a collection expected to fetch between $1m and $1.5m.

Christie's Images Ltd

Map of the other world

Click to read more ...

Page 1 ... 76 77 78 79 80