Bidloo and Cowper: Seventeenth Century Anatomical Conflicts


Bidloo and Cowper: Seventeenth Century Anatomical Conflicts


Seventeenth Century Anatomical Atlas production and reception


This collection will contain a series of illustrations and texts from three seventeenth century Dutch and English anatomical atlases, as well as correspondence between the anatomists Govard Bidloo and William Cowper


Rose Conlin


U.S. National Library of Medicine




Public Access (U.S. National Library of Medicine)




Medical Text


Seventeenth Century Dutch Republic, Seventeenth Century England

Date Created

1685, 1690, 1698

Items in the Bidloo and Cowper: Seventeenth Century Anatomical Conflicts Collection

Table 70: Dissection of the Forearm
The 70th Table depicts the dissection of the forearm, specifically displaying the muscles and connective tissue on the top of the forearm. A full arm is displayed on a wooden plank, the shoulder is draped in white cloth, which also runs diagonally…

Table 67: Dissection of the Forearm
The 67th Table illustrates one stage in the process of dissecting the forearm. This particular stage highlights the muscles and sinew that connect from the elbow to the palm and fingers of the hand. The forearm appears to be separated at the elbow…

Gulielmus Cowper, Criminis Literarii Citatus, Coram Tribunali. Nobiliss: Ampliss: Societatis Britanno-Regiae, per Godefridum Bidloo
Within this pamphlet, directed at the Royal Society, Govard Bidloo accused the anatomist William Cowper of plagiarizing his earlier anatomical atlas by using his illustrations without permission. The pamphlet contains correspondence between the…

Table 28: The Musculature of the Back of a Woman
The twenty eighth table of each atlas by Govard Bidloo and William Cowper depicts the back of a woman, the skin peeled away to reveal the inner musculature, while the woman's body is supported by an engaged arm. The skin has been cut down the center…

Table 71: Muscles and Sinew of the Hand (Dissection of the Forearm)
The 71st table of Govard Bidloo and William Cowper's anatomical atlases displays the dissection of the forearm, with particular attention paid to the muscles and sinews that connect throughout the back of the hand. the forearm has been mostly…

Table 88: A Skeleton Risen from its Tomb
The 88th table in Govard Bidloo's Anatomia Humani Corporis, and his later atlas Ontleding des Meschelyken Lichaams, depicts a skeletal figure holding a piece of drapery walking towards a tomb int he ground. The skeletal figure is situated beside a…

Appendix, Table 2: Male anatomical Figure showing Musculature
The second table of the appendix in William Cowper's The Anatomy of Humane Bodies depicts a male figure, facing away into a landscape that features an overlook, where the man stands, looking over a river, on which a walled town is located. His body…
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