Under current restrictions, our shops are closed to the public, but we are still processing online, telephone and email orders as normal.

ESQUIROL, Jean-Étienne Dominique.

Des maladies mentales considérées sous les rapports médical, hygiénique et médico-légal.

Paris: Chez J.-B. Baillière, 1838 Stock Code: 128843
Reserve Ask us a question

With an original pencil drawing and 19 proof plates

First edition of "the first modern textbook of psychiatry" (Norman); this copy of especial interest as including, bound into the first volume, a fine original pencil drawing (dated 1836) of a psychiatric patient, ascribed by a later hand to the engraver Ambroise Tardieu, along with a suite of 19 proof engravings. Tardieu appears to have been responsible for the engraving only in Esquirol's book and the pencil sketch is more likely to be the work of one of the two artists mentioned directly by the author, Pierre Emile Desmaisons and Guillaume-Joseph Roques. On stylistic grounds the former seems the more likely candidate as Esquirol mentions Roques as being responsible for the design of plate XXIV, distinctly different in nature to the other illustrations, less sympathetic and more caricatural, whereas the drawing is subtle and exhibits a degree of empathy with the subject. Desmaisons is described by Esquirol as a "jeune élève en médecine" (young student of medicine). The drawing does not feature as one of the 25 engravings. "Esquirol introduced a manner of viewing the insane which, while consciously rooted in Pinel's implied philosophy of psychiatric illustration (and counter to the phrenologists), is much more sophisticated than either approach. The stark portraiture, the absence of any background, the detail of position and expression all add dramatically to the total image of the insane Esquirol's illustrator Desmaisons carries on this tradition. His drawings and Ambroise Tardieu's etchings of them created a sense of isolated verisimilitude a reality dissociated from any general context" (Gilman, pp. 34-5).

The 19 proof plates are all inscribed with a note of certification by the publisher Jean-Baptiste Baillière, founder of one of the most important publishing houses of medical and scientific books. They are superior in tonal range and clarity to the published examples and show clearly the contrast between the stipple technique used for the delineation of the faces of the patients and the simple line engraving employed for torsos and backgrounds. The proofs are of plates 1, 3, 4, 7-12, 14-18, 21-23, 25, 26 (statistical graph).

"Esquirol's book, compiled from papers and articles published over the past two decades, summarized the experience gained over a lifetime of observation and treatment of mental illness, in which he closely followed the humanitarian principles of his teacher, Philippe Pinel. Esquirol was one of the first to apply statistical methods to clinical studies of insanity. He recognized the uselessness of the traditional terminology for mental illnesses, and created new descriptions and classifications based upon his own observations. He was the first to distinguish between hallucinations and illusions, and between dementia and idiocy; he also provided the classic description of paresis, coined the term 'monomania' and distinguished certain depressive states ('lypemanias') from other psychoses. Along with Pinel, Esquirol is regarded as the founder of the French school of psychiatry; his Maladies mentales was a basic psychiatric text for over half a century" (Norman).

Confused? Read our glossary


2 volumes, octavo (208 x 126 mm). Recent green quarter morocco, spines gilt lettered direct, triple fillet banding, contemporary Papier Croisé marbled sides, red speckled edges. [Together with:] a suite of 19 proof plates housed in a matching slipcase and ragboard chemise with yapp edges (268 x 190 mm).


25 stipple and line engraved plates of psychiatric patients and one engraved statistical graph by Ambrose Tardieu, folding plan of the Maison Royale de Charenton by Le Blanc.


Contemporary French ownership inscription to titles, scattered foxing (occasionally heavy), verso of original drawing with remains of mounting stub (a few specks of paper adhering to face of portrait), paper flaw to vol. I p. 655-6 affecting a few words, else a very good copy, with the half-titles, the plates bound in and not presented in the separate atlas as often found. Proof engravings in slipcase faintly foxed with some very minor fraying around extremities, else in very good condition, with the half-titles.


With the exception of framed items*, Peter Harrington offers free delivery on all UK orders of rare books, maps and prints placed through this website. Delivery to USA and the rest of the world is similarly free for orders over £200.

View Full Delivery Details



Established in 1969, Peter Harrington is one of the leading rare book firms in the world. It is a proud member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association – along with ILAB, the PBFA and Lapada – and from shops in Mayfair and Chelsea, London, sells rare books, prints and ephemera to customers across the world.

Email: mail@peterharrington.co.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7591 0220

ABA Antiquarian Bookseller Association ILAB International League of Antiquarian Booksellers LAPADA The Association of Art and Anatique Dealers PBFA Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association

Our Guarantee Page

Ask us a question


Contact us with details of the book you are interested in or selling and we will contact you

Sell Old Books Help me find a book