Engravings Explaining The Anatomy Of The Bones, Muscles, And Joints. By John Bell, Surgeon.

John Bell

RA Collection: Book

Record number




Edinburgh:: Printed By John Patterson; For Bell and Bradfute, And T. Duncan; And J. Johnson, And G.G.G. & J. Robinsons, London., M DCC XCIV.

Physical Description

[6], xxii, [ii], 191 p., 12 [i.e. 15], 13 [i.e. 14], 3 pl.: illus.; 263 mm. (Quarto).

General Note

In the first group of numbered plates there are bis pl. 1, 5, 6; in the second group there is a bis pl. 3.


[T.p., dedic.] - Errata - Preface - [Text, with pl.].

Responsibility Note

Most plates are signed as engraved by J. Bell; a few, as engraved by I. Beugo. Of the two in-text illustrations one is signed 'JB', the other is unsigned. In his Preface (page xx) Bell states, 'I have drawn my plates with my own hand. I have engraved some of these plates, and etched almost the whole of them', and 'I must not be ungrateful to Mr. Beugo ... wherever in these plates all is fair and clean, it is owing to his care'.

All plates except one (plate 9 of the second series) carry the publishers' imprint, 'Published for Longman & Rees 1804'.

The publishers 'G.G.G. and J. Robinsons' are probably the firm of George Robinson (1736-1801) and his partners - his son, George, and two brothers, John and James.

The work is dedicated by the author to Dr. Daniel Rutherford.


ESTC, N1322
M. Cazort, The ingenious machine of nature: four centuries of art and anatomy [exhibition catalogue] (Ottawa, 1996), p. 28, 53, 92-103, 234-7
K.B. Roberts and J.D.W. Tomlinson, The fabric of the body: European traditions of anatomical illustration (1992), p. 488-95
L. Rosner, Medical education in the age of improvement: Edinburgh students and apprentices 1760-1826 (1991).

Summary Note

The publication-date of 1794 is carried by the title page, but each plate carries the publishers' imprint and date of 1804 (except pl. 9 of the second series, which is undated).

Bell's plates show his bodies as dead - rather than following an earlier convention in which the muscles are shown as contracted and functioning - and have been described as 'evoking the ghoulish creations of Gothic novels'.

Benjamin Robert Haydon acquired Bell's Engravings Explaining The Anatomy in 1804 and later used it in his school.


Purchased for the Royal Academy Library in 1881 (see RA Annual Report for 1881, p. 46).

Copy Note

There are annotations in ink or pencil in an unknown hand on pages 35, 38, 55, 69, 72, 94-101, 108, 119, 134, 138, 146, 156, 159, 168, 173-175, 177, 190.

Binding Note

19th-century half calf, marbled-papered boards; rebacked and recornered in 1990 by AW[essely], red morocco spine-label lettered 'Bell's Anatomy'.


Manuals - Great Britain - 18th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century


John Patterson, printer
Thomas Duncan, publisher
J. Johnson, publisher
George Robinson, publisher
John Beugo, engraver
Daniel Rutherford, dedicatee
John Bell, publisher
John Bradfute, publisher
George Robinson, publisher
John Robinson, publisher
James Robinson, publisher
Anthony Wessely, binder
Bell and Bradfute (Edinburgh), publisher
Longman and Rees, publisher

Images from this book

5 results