Caricature as the record of medical history in eighteenth-century London
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This thesis examines two disparate developments that began in sixteenth-century Renaissance Italy and converged in almost inconceivable ways in eighteenth-century London. One of these developments was the public study of human anatomy through dissection. The other development was the satirical art of caricature. This thesis explores the point in time where the study of anatomy and the art of caricature converge by examining eighteenth-century texts as well as contemporary scholarly writing on the subjects of medicine, anatomy and caricature. This thesis argues that caricature was the medium best suited to visually record this unusual time in medical history and to expose the social responses to these medical advances. In order to narrow the scope of the two broad topics of art and medicine, this thesis looks at two of London's most notable Georgian era anatomists, Dr. William Hunter and his brother John, a surgeon. It examines how they, and anatomists in general, were depicted by their contemporaries and acquaintances, Thomas Rowlandson and William Hogarth. This thesis explores the clandestine activities involved in running an anatomy school in Georgian England by examining the written record as well as the visual record found in the prints of Hogarth and Rowlandson. This thesis briefly examines the religious and legal ramifications of the procurement of bodies for dissection.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Depictions of anatomy -- A necessary inhumanity -- The anatomy school -- The bone collector -- Conclusion -- Illustrations