Schuh’s Annotated Bio-Bibliography

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MEAD, Richard.

(1673 – 1754)

(Born: Stepney near London, England, 11 August 1673; Died: London, England, 16 February 1754) English physician.

Educated at Utrecht and Leyden, Mead travelled to Italy where he received his M.D. from Padua in 1695. Upon returning to England, he opened a medical practice first in Stepney, then later in London. In 1703, he was appointed a doctor at St. Thomas-Hospital. At the end of his career he became physician to King George II. Mead was F.R.S. (1704), being elected vice president in 1717. He was also elected to the Royal College of Physicians (1716). His wealth allowed him to finance his collecting and various literary projects.

Biographical references: BBA: I 757, 248-387; II 1652, 290-291. DNB. Hirsch, Biographisches Lexikon, 1884-8: 4, 187-8. Leman, T., Some memoirs of the life and writings of the late Dr. Richard Mead. London, 1755. Mead, R., The Medical Works. With an account of the Life and Writings of the Author. Edinburgh, Printed by A. Donaldson and J. Reid for Alexander Donaldson, 1765, 3 vols. Munk, W., The roll of the Royal College of Physicians of London. 2nd edition. London, 1878. 3 vols. Poggendorff: 2, col. 98. Waller, Dictionary of Universal Biography, 1857-63. Watt, Bibliotheca Britannica, 1824. WBI.

Mvsevm Meadianvm, 1755

1. Latin, 1755 [Sale catalog].
Mvsevm Meadianvm, | Sive, | Catalogvs Nvmmorvm, | Veteris Aevi | Monvmentorvm, ac Gemmarvm, | Cum aliis quibusdam | Artis recentioris et Naturae Qperibvs; | Quae Vir Clarissimus | Richardvs Mead, M.D. | Nuper defunctus comparaverat. | [rule] | Reliquias, veterumque vides monumenta virorum. Virg. | [rule] | Londini, | Catalogus prostat apud A. Langford in area dicta Covent-Garden; | et S. Baker in York-street. | [Pret. 1s. 6d.]

4°: π2 B-Z4 2A-2K4 2L3; 133l.; [4], [1]-262 p., one plate (showing ancient coins). Page size: 206 x 128 mm.

Contents: [2 pgs], Title page, verso "The Reader is desired to correct in the Catalogue ...''; [1 pg], Sectional title page, "Mvsei Meadiani | Pars Prior: | Qvæ | Nummos veteres et recentiores | complectitvr. | Prastabunt venalia sub hasta, | Apud A. Langford, in area dicta Covent-Garden, Londoni, | Die Martis, XI. Februarii M.DCC.LV.''; [1 pg], "Ordo Nvmmorvm, l'Prout hic disponnutur.''; [1]-210, "...The First Day's Sale, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 1755.''; [211], Sectional title page, "Mvsei Meadiani | Pars Altera: | Qvae | Veteris aevi Monvmenta ac Gemmas, | Cum aliis quibusdam | Artis Recentioris et Natvrae Operibvs, | Complectitvr. | Prostabunt venalia sub hasta, | Apud A. Langford, in area dicta Covent-Garden, Londoni, | Die Martis, XI. Martii, M.DCC.LV.''; [212], "Lectori Benevolo.''; [213]-262, Text.

Very scarce. Scarce auction catalog. Dr. Mead had developed a taste for classical learning and antiquities during his education at Utrecht and Leyden. Together with his fellow student, Hermann Boerhaave, he became an avid collector and formed a museum. Mead's professional success brought him great wealth which he used to indulge his tastes. His spacious home "became a repository of all that was curious in nature and in art, to which his extensive correspondence with the Learned in all parts of Europe not a little contributed'' (Leman, 1755). He always made his collections available for students and the curious public. After his death, the heirs put the magnificent library and other collections up for auction. These sales occured from late 1754 to the summer of the following year.

The Museum Meadianum here described is in two parts. The first section describes the ancient and foreign coins contained in the collection. The sale for this part commenced on February 11, 1755 and lasted for 8 days thereafter. The second part commencing on page 211 describes the lots sold beginning on March 11, 1755. This portion embraces Egyptian artifacts, including mummies, carvings, vases, Etruscan antiquities, statues, cut and sculptured gems, signette rings, mineral specimens including native silvers and golds, cassiterite, and an emerald crystal, vegetables and animals.

Bibliographical references: BL. Leman, T., Some memoirs of the life and writings of the late Dr. Richard Mead. London, 1755. Murray, Museums, 1904: 1, 122-3 & 3, 20. NUC. Osler, Bibliotheca Osleriana, 1969: no. 3370.