the Anatomy of Humane Bodies
Samuel Smith and Benjamin Walford
Gerard de Lairesse (artist), Henry Cook (artist), Peter and Philip van Gunst (engravers), Michiel van der Gucht (engraver), John Closterman (portrait artist), John Smith (engraver)
Public Access (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2004)
Ontleding des Menschelyken Lichaams
288 p (105 + 9 Copperplate engravings) 51 x 36 cm
Seventeenth century English anatomical atlas
The anatomy of humane bodies, with figures drawn after the life by some of the best masters in Europe, and curiously engraven in one hundred and fourteen copper plates, illustrated with large explications, containing many new anatomical discoveries, and chirurgical observations, to which is added an introduction explaining the animal oeconomy, with a copious index.
Published in 1698, the Anatomy of Humane Bodies brought great notoriety to William Cowper, both positive and negative. The anatomical atlas motivated a centuries long rise in interest in anatomical development in England that had been unheard of. Cowper purchased the 300 imprints of 105 copperplate engravings used in Govard Bidloo's atlas with the aid of his publisher, Samuel Smith, from the Dutch publishers to accompany his own analysis of human anatomy. Cowper commissioned 9 additional plates that details the musculature of the full body by Henry Cook, which were engraved by the Dutch engraver Michiel van der Gucht. Because Cowper was unable to edit the original engravings, his new English title was printed and pasted over the original Dutch title of Ontleding des Menschelyken Lichaams on the allegorical title page. The lack of credit given to Bidloo within the text however initiated one of the largest copyright scandals in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. Regardless of the results that came from the copyright scandal, Cowper's English text accompanying the images is wholly original, offering a great deal of research and insight into the body that proved extremely valuable for medical development in the eighteenth century.
Table Of Contents
Allegorical title page
Text title page
Dedication to Charles Montague
Introduction: Explaining the Animal Oeconomy
To the Reader
The Anatomy of Humane Bodies
An Appendix, Representing the External Muscles, and other parts of Humane Bodies which are either Omitted, or not well Exprest in the preceding Tables
Beekman, Fenwick. “Bidloo and Cowper, Anatomists.” Annals of Medical History (1935): 113-129.
Choulant, Ludwig. History of Bibliography of Anatomic Illustration In its Relation to Anatomic Science and the Graphic Arts. Trans. Mortimer Frank. Chicago: University of Chicago Press: 1920.
Dumaitre, Paul. La curieuse destinee des planches anatomiques de Gerard de Lairesse. Amsterdam, Rodopi, 1982.
Johns, Adrian. “Piracy and Usurpation: Natural Philosophy in Restoration.” In The Nature of the Book, Print and Knowledge in the Making. Chicago and London, University of Chicago Press, 1998.
Roberts, K. B., and Tomlinson, J. D. W. The Fabric of the Body: European Traditions of Anatomical Illustration. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992.
Sanders, Mark A. “William Cowper and his Decorated Copperplate Initials.” The Anatomical Record, vol. 282 (2005): 5-12.
Cowper, William. the Anatomy of Humane Bodies, with figures drawn after the life by some of the best masters in Europe, and curiously engraven in one hundred and fourteen copper plates, illustrated with large explications, containing many new anatomical discoveries, and chirurgical observations, to which is added an introduction explaining the animal oeconomy, with a copious index. Oxford, Printed at the Theatre, for Sam. Smith and Benj. Walford, 1698.
William Cowper, “the Anatomy of Humane Bodies,” U of G Omeka, accessed July 22, 2018, https://digex.lib.uoguelph.ca/items/show/2762.