Detailing the beautiful body

Scottish surgeon and anatomist John Lizars in the early 1800s recruited his brother William, a renowned engraver, to give greater prestige to his field. Together, they turned out A System of Anatomical Plates of the Human Body, a collection of more than 100 hand-colored plates illustrating human anatomy.

Originally issued in 12 parts from 1822 to 1826, the volume is among the holdings of DMU’s Kendall Reed Rare Book Room.

Dedicating the volume to “his late majesty George the Fourth,” John, who worked at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Royal Infirmary there, stated in its introduction, “The voice of antiquity, the nature of disease, the casualties of ordinary life, and the hazards of war, all conspire, with the dictates of sound philosophy, in enforcing the claims of anatomy and physiology, as the basis of a successful system of Medicine and Surgery.”

Information courtesy of DMU Archivist Lindsey Smith, M.A., the DMU Archives and the Kendall Reed Rare Book Room.

Scroll to Top