Skeleton and écorché figure
Cambridge, ca 1590
In sixteenth-century England there was no clear distinction between the roles of physician, surgeon and apothecary. Nevertheless, the three activities were represented by separate bodies. The ‘Mystery and Communality of Barbers and Surgeons of London’, formed in 1520, was a large and influential livery company with a formal programme of surgical demonstrations and anatomical lectures, which regularly sponsored a medical student at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. This boxwood figure and miniature ivory skeleton were presented to the University Library in 1591 by John Banister, a leading London surgeon who delivered lectures to the Barber-Surgeons’ Company and published a number of influential books.
A high resolution 3D model of the boxwood manikin has been created by Professor Dominic Powlesland and can be viewed by clicking this link.