Inside Out: medical illustration from the Special Collections at York


This December sees the 500th anniversary of the birth of anatomist Andrea Vesalius and ‘Inside Out’ will look at anatomical drawings charting the depiction of the human body from the 16th to the 20thcentury. Most of the books in this exhibition come from the collection of the York Medical Society housed in Special Collections.

Early medicine was a mixture of science and superstition, with the works of the ancients such as Galen and Hippocrates heavily relied upon. Early medical illustrations tended to be more symbolic representations than anatomically correct depictions of the human body.

The Renaissance brought a new spirit of enquiry, and the advent of printing meant that texts could be more easily and cheaply produced and the new knowledge disseminated more quickly.

The four cases look at dissection, plagiarism, two English anatomists and finally at how anatomical illustration developed.

The exhibition is in place from 26 August – 17 December 2014. All the books in Special Collections are available for study. For more information please contact Special Collections Librarian,