Vintage Illustrations


Category archives for Vintage Illustrations

Implied motion in Hokusai Manga

Click to enlarge images ARTISTS employ a number of different techniques to represent implied motion in two-dimensional works. One of these, commonly used in posters, comics and animation, is the affine shear effect, whereby a moving object is depicted as leaning into the direction of movement. Cartoonists also use action lines to depict movement and…

These gorgeous stipple-engraved plates come from The Anatomy of the Brain, Explained in a Series of Engravings, by Sir Charles Bell. The book was first published in 1802 and contained 12 plates, 11 of which were printed in colour; these come from an edition which appeared in 1823.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my readers. (Or rather Happy Holidays, as many of you, being in America, might say.) This card is one of a set by Ernst Haeckel which, when expanded, became Kunstformen der Natur (Artforms in Nature), the masterpiece of biological illustration.

Beautiful diseased brains

These beautiful watercolour drawings of diseased brain sections come from a book called Reports on Medical Cases, Selected with a View to Illustrate the Symptoms and Cure of Diseases by a Reference to Morbid Anatomy, by Richard Bright.

Christopher Wren & the architecture of the brain

The current issue of Nature contains an interesting article about Sir Christopher Wren’s contribution to neuroanatomy, by art historians Martin Kemp and Nathan Flis of Oxford University. The article focuses on the anatomical illustrations produced by Wren for Thomas Willis’s 1664 book Cerebri Anatome (The Anatomy of the Brain). This was a landmark publication in…

C19th Japanese anatomical scrolls

The Kaibo Zonshinzu is a beautiful collection of 83 anatomical illustrations on two scrolls, by a doctor named Yasukazu Minagaki from the Kyoto area. Painted in 1819, they are based on the observations he made during his dissections of more than 40 executed criminals. Minagaki adopted the style of illustrators such as Johann Adam Kulmus.…

Morbid anatomy of the human brain

Plate XIII: Encysted tumour of the brain, from Robert Hooper’s Morbid Anatomy of the Human Brain (1828). 14 more plates from the book, and many other wonderful vintage illustrations, can be viewed at Images from the Past. (Via where else but the excellent – and now 1-year-old – Morbid Anatomy?) 

An illustrated history of trepanation

The operation of Trepan, from Illustrations of the Great Operations of Surgery: Trepan, Hernia, Amputation, Aneurism and Lithotomy, by Charles Bell, 1815. (John Martin Rare Book Room at the University of Iowa’s Hardin Library for the Health Sciences.) Trepanation, or trephination (both derived from the Greek word trypanon, meaning “to bore”) is perhaps the oldest…