Left zygomatic bone from Gray’s Anatomy

The world’s best-known anatomical reference work celebrates its 150th year this month with an exhibition at the Royal College of Surgeons of England. The exhibition is going to place emphasis on the illustrations and the man who created them, Henry Vandyke Carter.

Gray’s Anatomy, published in 1858, stood out from the rest of the medical texts of the time because of its illustrations and the fact that they incorporated labels in the illustrations rather than in separate keys. Considering that Gray’s Anatomy owed its initial success to the simplicity of its layout and clear illustrations, it’s about time that people start learning Carter’s name.

Hasn’t this been the case with nearly all famous medical texts though? The artists are forgotten while the name of the anatomist graces the cover. I’m in no way de-valuing the work of the anatomist; I’m simply trying to make the point that it’s usually a dual effort between anatomist and artist to create a great work like Gray’s Anatomy.

But over 150 years and 40 editions later, Gray’s Anatomy no longer contains any of Gray’s work or Carter’s drawings. Along with being the anniversary edition, the 40th edition reaches another milestone; the first female editor, Susan Standring.

The exhibition, “150 Years of Gray’s Anatomy,” goes from April 3rd – May 2nd at the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

Happy anniversary Gray’s Anatomy.

[via the Telegraph]