Tuesday, February 7, 2012
I'm building up quite a collection of anatomical images from 19th century and early 20th century medical books. They fascinate me to no end, especially those that are interactive. Anatomy, by its very nature, requires cutting the body open - offering a multitude of illustrative opportunities. My favorites are the flip-the-flap charts in early 20th century medical encyclopedias, which brought home the inner workings of the body in a simplified - and fun - format.
I'm not the only one enthralled. The face plate, above, has been reproduced on modern book catalog covers, t-shirts, posters, etc. and in altered phrenological versions. Mine is from the massive Medicology: Home Encyclopedia of Health: 10 Books in One Volume (University Medical Society, 1905) - an estate sale find chock full of great illustrations in addition to the series of flip-the-flaps. I was lucky, all were intact and the book cost a mere $25.
Since finding it, I've come across other charts, most of them falling apart. A few weeks ago, I bought a huge world atlas and when I got it to the studio and opened it, out fell pieces of two other charts. Since those are already a mess, they'll be used in collages. As for this one and the others at home, well, they're staying intact ... for the moment. Meanwhile, here's the sequence of flaps behind the face ...