Boxwood écorché figure and ivory skeleton

[England?, not later than 1591]

The London surgeon John Banister presented this anatomical figure and skeleton to the University in 1591. They were presumably used in teaching at a time when the availability of bodies for dissection was strictly limited. The box is covered in blind-tooled leather with gilt decoration and a printed gift label is attached to the lid under horn with ten ornamental nails. Banister was admitted to the Barber-Surgeons’ Company in London in 1572, enabling him to practise surgery in London. In 1593 the College of Physicians licensed him to practise both surgery and medicine. A painting of him at Glasgow University Library shows him delivering a ‘visceral lecture’ for the Barber-Surgeons standing next to a skeleton, a body in the process of dissection and an opened anatomical textbook.

To view a high resolution 3D model of the figure, created by Professor Dominic Powlesland, click here.