A foldout found in the 1644 edition of Markham’s Maister-peece [Masterpiece], Containing all Knowledge Belonging to Smith, Farrier, or Horse=Leech, Touching on Curing All Diseases in Horses.
Michael J. North, Head of Rare Books and Early Manuscripts in NLM’s History of Medicine Division, takes a look at one of the most important books in the history of veterinary medicine – a seminal 17th-century work dedicated to the care of horses.
One of the most important and enduring books in the English language about the care of horses is by Gervase Markham (1586?-1637), an author of poetry and practical guides, including books on horsemanship and home economics.
His most famous work, however, was Markham’s Maister-peece [Masterpiece], Containing all Knowledge Belonging to Smith, Farrier, or Horse=Leech, Touching on Curing All Diseases in Horses, which was first printed in London in 1610 and came out in dozens of editions under a number of titles for over 200 years.
This edition of Markham’s Maister-peece printed in London in 1644 and held in NLM’s collection is divided into two parts focusing on “physical cures” and “surgical cures,” the former handling mainly internal physiology and pathology with herbal or dietary remedies, and the latter covering external illnesses which required hands-on treatments like bloodletting, purging, and bandaging.