Bernardi Siegfried Albini Tabulae Sceleti Et Musculorum Corporis Humani.

Bernhard Siegfried Albinus

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Uniform Title

[Tabulae Sceleti Et Musculorum Corporis Humani., 1749.]

Variant Title

Tables of the skeleton and muscles of the human body


Londini:: Typis H. Woodfall. Impensis Johannis Et Pauli Knapton., M.DCC.XLIX.

Physical Description

[94] p., 3, 25 pl. [i.e. 40 pl.]; 658 mm. (Broadsheet ).

General Note

Of the first sequence of plates (pl. 1-3) there are bis pl. 1-3. Of the second sequence of plates (pl. 1-25) there are bis pl. 1-9.


[T.p.] - Historia Hujus Operis - [Text, with pl.] - Index Musculorum.

Responsibility Note

All numbered plates are signed by their engravers - C. Grignion, G. Scotin, S. F. Ravenet or L. P. Boitard. No draughtsman is named, but the plates are copied from Jan Wandelaar's illustrations to the original edition (1747).

Each carries the publishers' imprint, 'Impensis J. & P. Knapton Londini', and the date.

The title-page vignette is signed as drawn by N. Blakey and engraved by G. Scotin.


M. Cazort, The ingenious machine: four centuries of art and anatomy (1996); K. B. Roberts and J. D. W. Tomlinson, The fabric of the body: European traditions of anatomical illustration (1992); I. Bignami and M. Postle, The artist's model: its role in British art from Lely to Etty (1991); G. D. R. Bridson and J. J. White, Plant, animal and anatomical illustration in art and science: a bibliographical guide ... (1990); K. F. Russell, British anatomy 1525-1800: a bibliography (1987); J. Elkins, 'Two conceptions of the human form: Bernhard Siegfried Albinus and Andreas Vesalius', in Artibus et historiae, 14:7 (1986), p.91-106; A. H. Mayor, Artists and anatomists (1984); H. Punt, Bernard Siegfried Albinus (1697-1770) on Human Nature (1983); L. Price Amerson, The problem of the écorché [dissertation, Pennsylvania State Univy.] (1975); L. Choulant, Geschichte und Bibliographie der anatomischen Abbildung ( 1852; Eng. tr. M. Frank as History and bibliography of anatomic illustration, 1920, 3/1962).
ESTC, N49651

Summary Note

The plates carry publication-dates of 1747, 1748 or 1749.

The plates have been regarded as one of the high points of anatomical engraving. The first three display the skeleton; the following twenty-five display the human figure 'clothed' with muscles. They set the human body before scenic backgrounds, which in some cases include the figure of a rhinoceros.

In the same year the Knaptons published an English version, Tables of the skeleton and muscles of the human body (q.v.).

By 1802 the Royal Academy had acquired several studies of human anatomy - most of which had been published for physicians rather than for artists. The earliest-printed of their collection was Vesalius's Anatomia (2nd ed, 1555); but most were by eighteenth-century authors, including Errard (1723), Parsons (1745, 1747), Albinus (1749, 1750, 1754), Brisbane (1769), Cheselden (1769), Blane (1790) and Camper (1794). During the 19th century the Library added works by Casserio and Spigelius (1645), Cowper (1745), J. Bell (1794), Stubbs (1802), Gray (1858) and C. Bell (1865). Of books of anatomy devised specifically for artists the Academy acquired in the 18th century only Tortebat (1667), but later added works by J. G. Salvage (1812), J. Cloquet (1821-31), John Flaxman (1833) and J. Fau (1845).

Like other academies the Royal Academy appointed as its first Professor of Anatomy a medical man, Dr. William Hunter, who used in his lectures an écorché of a standing man (shown in Johann Zoffany's painting, 'Hunter lecturing at the Royal Academy', ca. 1772). From the same era survives a cast of a figure anatomised to two different levels; and from a slightly later date, an écorché of a crucified man (by Thomas Banks, ca. 1800). The best known of the Academy's écorchés is that of the smuggler set in the pose of the ancient Greek sulpture known as the 'Dying Gaul' (1775; recast 1834). John Flaxman, the Academy's first Professor of Sculpture, kept a skeleton, which survives in Sir John Soane's Museum, London.


'Albinus's Tables' headed a list of books that John Flaxman recommended to the RA Council on 1 September 1801 as 'essentially useful in the Arts, therefore necessary to be added to the Collection' (RA Council Minutes III, 110). This copy was acquired (possibly from the Holborn bookseller Josiah Taylor) in time to be included in the 1802 printed Catalogue of the Library in the Royal Academy, London, (p. 19).

Binding Note

18th-century half morocco, marbled-papered boards; spine lettered, 'Albini's Tables Of Anatomy'. Bound with, 'A Compleat System Of The Blood-Vessels And Nerves, Taken From Albinus's Edition of Eustachius' (1750).


Anatomy - Human anatomy - Musculoskeletal system
Manuals - Great Britain - 18th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century


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