Recording a dissection

Loys Vasse (active sixteenth century)
In anatomen corporis humani tabulae quatuor …
Paris: J. Foucherium, 1541

This volume of medical and anatomical works was bequeathed to the University Library by Thomas Lorkyn (ca 1528–1591), Regius Professor of Physic at Cambridge, and bears his monogram on the title page of this item. Candidates for the Bachelor and Doctor of Medicine at Cambridge were required to attend a minimum of two dissections. These were typically ceremonial occasions where students observed a surgeon at work on the corpse while the ‘instructor’ read out from a learned treatise. The annotation in Lorkyn’s copy of Vasse’s In anatomen corporis humani records the names of those present at one such event at Magdalene College in 1564/5, the first known record of a public dissection in England.

N*.3.17(B)(6), sig. aiii v–aiv r

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