STERLING SURGICAL SENSE

Farriery improv’d, or a compleat Treatise upon the Art of Farriery, wherein is fully explain’d the Nature, Structure, and Mechanism of that noble and useful Creature, a Horse, the Diseases and Accidents he is liable to, and Methods of Cure, set down in as clear and intelligible a Manner as the Subject will admit of, the Use and Abuse of the Science discover’d, whereby any Gentleman may be able to judge for himself, whether or no he is imposed upon by ignorant Grooms, and other Pretenders to this Art, together with many necessary and useful Observations and Remarks concerning the Choice and Management of Horses, likewise an Account of Drugs and mix’d Medicines used in Farriery, with some Remarks upon their Genuineness and Adulteration, and their several Prices, set down alphabetically at the End of the Work.

London, J. Clarke and J. Shuckburgh, 1745.

Large 12mo, pp. viii, [2], 363, [35]; woodcut ornaments and initials; title trimmed at fore-edge, clipping a few letters, small paper flaws to B1 and R1-2, lightly foxed; contemporary English calf, borders double-filleted in gilt, board-edges roll-tooled in blind; sympathetically rebacked in paper with gilt red paper label to spine, boards heavily rubbed, corners bumped with a little loss; later eighteenth-century ink ownership inscription of Thomas Outhwaite.

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Farriery improv’d, or a compleat Treatise upon the Art of Farriery, wherein is fully explain’d the Nature, Structure, and Mechanism of that noble and useful Creature, a Horse, the Diseases and Accidents he is liable to, and Methods of Cure, set down in as clear and intelligible a Manner as the Subject will admit of, the Use and Abuse of the Science discover’d, whereby any Gentleman may be able to judge for himself, whether or no he is imposed upon by ignorant Grooms, and other Pretenders to this Art, together with many necessary and useful Observations and Remarks concerning the Choice and Management of Horses, likewise an Account of Drugs and mix’d Medicines used in Farriery, with some Remarks upon their Genuineness and Adulteration, and their several Prices, set down alphabetically at the End of the Work.

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Fifth edition of Bracken’s ‘most famous and best-selling work’ (ODNB). First published in 1737 and eventually running to twelve editions, ‘its popularity sprang from Bracken’s robust language and common-sense solutions, which were grounded as much in his firsthand knowledge of the general care and feeding of horses, as in his application of Newtonian medicine to their treatment’ (ibid.).

Like many leading writers on farriery of the eighteenth century, Henry Bracken (1697 – 1764) was by training and profession a surgeon, studying in London and Paris before returning to Lancaster to practise. ‘He received much honour in his native town, and was twice elected mayor – in 1747-8 and 1757-8. In his method of practice as a medical man he was remarkably simple, discarding many of the usual nostrums. In private life he was liberal, generous, charitable, and popular; but his love of horse-racing, of conviviality, and of smuggling, which he called gambling with the king, prevented him from reaping or retaining the full fruits of his success. He published several books on horses, written in a rough, unpolished style, but abounding in such sterling sense as to cause him to be placed by John Lawrence at the head of all veterinary writers, ancient or modern.’ (DNB).

ESTC T96274; not in Dingley (cf. 91-98 for other editions).

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