White Rose University Consortium logo
University of Leeds logo University of Sheffield logo York University logo

Making Anatomical Knowledge about Disease in Late Georgian Britain, from Dissection Table to the Printed Book and Beyond: Matthew Baillie’s Morbid Anatomy and Its Accompanying Engravings

Bellis, Richard Thomas (2019) Making Anatomical Knowledge about Disease in Late Georgian Britain, from Dissection Table to the Printed Book and Beyond: Matthew Baillie’s Morbid Anatomy and Its Accompanying Engravings. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

[img] Text
PhD Final-Corrected.pdf - Final eThesis - complete (pdf)
Restricted until 1 November 2025.

Request a copy

Abstract

The thesis examines the practice of morbid anatomy as it was articulated and developed in late Georgian Britain. This practice, I argue, was a particular way of investigating disease that was specifically anatomical, in contrast to much other work on disease in this period. It originated in William Hunter’s anatomy school at Great Windmill Street, and was developed partly by Hunter himself but especially through the work and publications of Matthew Baillie. At the school, Baillie learnt anatomy in the Hunterian manner, and applied these lessons to the study of disease. His major publications Morbid Anatomy (1793) and A Series of Engravings (1799–1803) clarified and promoted this practice to a wider public in text and image, and were widely circulated. In the nineteenth century, morbid anatomy came to be central to British approaches in the study of disease, distinct from the historiographically much better-known, concurrent developments in Paris. By focusing on morbid anatomy, I argue that Paris’s “birth of the clinic” was part of a wider story which had an important, and distinctive, British component. My interpretation of Baillie’s texts and activities incorporates approaches from the history of medicine, art history, and book history, thereby treating all of the various knowledge-making practices involved as vital to the development of morbid anatomy. Processes of dissection and preservation were designed to gain sensory knowledge of the diseased cadaver, and to keep that knowledge in the form of preparations; features of anatomy books were employed to present disease as anatomical; skilled artisans worked to enhance the epistemic content of Baillie’s morbid anatomy illustrations; and after criticism, Baillie modified his work to mollify his critics whilst restating the essentially anatomical nature of his work. Baillie’s work thus spanned various medical, publishing, and artistic concerns, and I explore morbid anatomy in the same way.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Matthew Baillie, morbid anatomy, disease, anatomy, book, eighteenth century
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Philosophy, Religion and the History of Science
Depositing User: Richard T. Bellis
Date Deposited: 07 May 2020 14:38
Last Modified: 07 May 2020 14:38
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/25021

Please use the 'Request a copy' link(s) above to request this thesis. This will be sent directly to someone who may authorise access.
You can contact us about this thesis. If you need to make a general enquiry, please see the Contact us page.

Actions (repository staff only: login required)