Bibliotheca Britannica; or A General Index to British and Foreign Literature
Edinburgh: Printed for Archibald Constable and Company 1824. First edition. Text in two columns. Binding extremities a bit rubbed, intermittent foxing, but a very good, attractive copy. Full contemporary diced calf, decoratively stamped in gilt and blind. Black morocco spine labels, edges sprinkled red. Two parts in four volume (Item ID: 15713)
Robert Watt (1774-1819) was a Scottish physician. Educated at the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, he practiced in Glasgow and wrote two books and several papers. His best known medical work is Inquiry into Child Mortality (1813). He was president of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons at Glasgow. His first bibliographical publication was a catalogue of his own medical library (1812). His Bibliotheca Britannica was an ambitious project of listing by author and subject the works of all authors from Britain, or the British dominions at the time. He also included what he termed a copious selection from the writings of the most distinguished authors of all ages and nations (Goodall and Gibson, 45, quoted in DNB). It was initially published in nine parts, 1819-1824. In this first book edition, the first two volumes consist of an alphabetical author index, in which each author's work is arranged chronologically. Volumes 3 and 4 are a subject index, again with each work arranged chronologically. Watt saw only the first few sheets of his magnum opus off the press.