Skip to content


Original price £650.00 - Original price £650.00
Original price
£650.00 - £650.00
Current price £650.00

Viader y Payrachs, Josef Antonio: Discurso medico-moral de la informacion del feto por el alma desde su concepcion; i administracion de su bautismo. Obra util a parrocos, medicos, comadrones, i parteras. Gerona, por Narciso Oliva, 1785.

Only edition of this Spanish work on foetuses, which provides a fascinating insight into the intersections between medicine and religion in eighteenth-century Spain.

The author, Josef Antonio Viader, was a doctor from Girona and a member of the Academia Medico-Practica de Barcelona. The title page suggests that Viader intended his book to be read by ‘parrocos, medicos, comadrones, i parteras’, i.e. a mixed audience of parish priests, doctors, and midwives.

The text is divided into three sections, the first of which covers preliminary matters. For example, there is a chapter on conception, in addition to a description of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. The second section deals with the animation of the soul as well as foetal deformities. The third and final section addresses baptism and explains various scenarios in which it can be administered. For ease of reference, the text includes a contents page and marginal chapter headings. The book also contains a preface, extensive footnotes, and a list of errata. 

A partial dried leaf currently rests between pages 20 and 21, perhaps functioning as a bookmark of sorts—though of course it is not necessarily in its original location. Page 20 marks the beginning of the description of the uterus. Here, Viader y Payrachs supports his discussion with reference to Institutiones medicae, written by the famous Dutch physician Herman Boerhaave (1668–1738). In this section, Viader y Payrachs also cites Compendium anatomicum, which was written by German surgeon Lorenz Heister (1683–1758).

This particular copy of Discurso Medico-Moral is notable for its purple marbled endpapers.


Printed. One volume, 15.4 x 10.5 cms in binding, octavo, pp. [24], 240. One decorative initial and one woodcut decoration at start of text. Footnotes.

Condition: browning to pages, waterstaining to bottom margins, foxing to endpapers and outermost pages. Title page very slightly torn and detaching from textblock at top margin.

Bound in mottled calf. Plain covers with gold frames. Smooth spine divided into compartments with gold floral decoration. Leather label in second spine compartment (VIADER [D]ISCUR MED’ M). Gold decoration to sides. One free endpaper at front and one at rear, purple marbled pastedowns and facing endpapers, green edges. Rubbing, scratching, and staining to leather; gold faded (including on spine label); some splitting between pastedown and endpaper at top joint.


  1. Bookseller’s notes in pencil on verso of front free endpaper. 
  2. Dried partial leaf inserted between pp. 20–21.

CCPB 000404292-1, Aguilar Piñal VIII 3053, Palau 361495.

OCLC and CCPB show at least 10 copies in Spain and one in the Wellcome Library, but none outside Europe.