ALDINI, Giovanni. 19676



Letter Signed ‘Giovanni Aldini’, apparently an invitation addressed to a friend in Milan to meet a brother, Signor Comte Aldini. 7 lines on 1 page 9 x 7 inches, in Italian, in good condition. Dalla Studia, 30 August 1816. A good example of an uncommon signature. Among the inspirations for Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ were the experiments carried out in public by the physicist Giovanni Aldini at the Royal College of Surgeons in 1803. Giovanni Aldini (1762 – 1834), Italian physicist, became professor of physics at Bologna in 1798, in succession to his teacher Sebastiano Canterzani (1734–1819). His scientific work was chiefly concerned with galvanism, anatomy and its medical applications, with the construction and illumination of lighthouses, and with experiments for preserving human life and material objects from destruction by fire. It is said he was an inspiration for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Though a showman in many respects, Aldini was among the first to treat mentally ill patients with shocks to the brain, reporting complete electrical cures for a number of mental illnesses. These experiments were described in details in Aldini’s book published in London in 1803 “An account of the late improvements in galvanism, with a series of curious and interesting experiments performed before the commissioners of the French National Institute, and repeated lately in the anatomical theatres of London, by John Aldini.” It was an influential book on galvanism, that presented for the first time a series of experiments in which the principles of Volta and Galvani were used together. He also engaged in public demonstrations of the technique, such as on the executed criminal George Forster at Newgate in London.