Center for the History of Medicine Collections in Boston University Art Gallery Exhibition “Teaching the Body”

By , January 23, 2013

Watercolor of the vessels of the neck, by Oscar Wallis, 1849-1854, Warren Anatomical Museum in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine

The Center for the History of Medicine has loaned watercolors, lithographs, drawings, rare books and manuscripts from its Boston Medical Library collection,  Archive of Medical Visual Resources, and Warren Anatomical Museum to Boston University Art Gallery’s upcoming exhibition, Teaching the Body: Artistic Anatomy in the American Academy, from Copley, Rimmer, and Eakins to Contemporary Artists.

The Warren Anatomical Museum granted permission for reproductions to be made of three fragile watercolors from the Henry Jacob Bigelow teaching collection. Bigelow was Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School from 1849 to 1882. Between 1849 and 1854, he commissioned scores of anatomical watercolors from artist Oscar Wallis to use in the classroom. More on the collaboration can be found on pages 72-74 in the 1894 A Memoir of Henry Jacob Bigelow. The displayed reproductions are of a dissected neck, dissected legs and a dissected hand.

Four works by anatomical artist Muriel McLatchie Miller (1900-1965) from the Countway’ s Archive of Medical Visual Resources will be featured. The exhibited drawings and watercolors are Aneurism of Abdominal AortaHalf tone drawing showing abdominal operation, Scoliorachitic pelorus, and Gastroscopy & peritoneoscopy endoscopy. From the Boston Medical Library collection, Thomas Scott Lambert’s 1851 text, Practical anatomy, physiology, and pathology: hygiene and therapeutics, a volume of William Henry Furness’s manuscript Notes on different lectures delivered at Harvard College, Cambridge, from 1820, and an 1831 color lithograph of Massachusetts General Hospital will be exhibited.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of programs. More can be found on the Boston University Art Gallery’s website, here.


The exhibition will be open from February 1, 2013 to March 31, 2013 and some of the Center’s artwork will be published in an accompanying catalog.

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