Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, October 2012

JOHN LIZARS (1787?-1860). A system of anatomical plates of the human body. Edinburgh: W. H. Lizars, [1840?].

Lizars developed a great reputation as a teacher and was also a bold and forthright surgeon. He made a number of original contributions, was a pioneer in performing ovariotomies in Europe, and he clearly demonstrated the value of abdominal exploration as a diagnostic procedure. However, he was somewhat ahead of his time and received criticism for exploring new surgical techniques, though later many of his techniques became widely accepted. Lizars was an active writer and prepared many papers on hernia, lithotomy, and hemorrhoids. Although it contains no new discoveries, this superb atlas is certainly one of the most elegant works of the nineteenth century. The 101 lithographs were drawn by the author and his brother, William, from the author’s dissections.

Lizar illustration