Illustrations of surgical instruments by Nicolas-Henri Jacob for Jean-Baptiste Marc Bourgery, who in 1830

“began work on Traité complet de l’anatomie de l’homme comprenant la médecine operatoire, a masterpiece on human anatomy that was published in eight volumes.

Bourgery worked on the atlas until his death in 1849, with the last volume being published posthumously. The finished work contained 2108 pages of folio-sized text and 726 hand-colored lithographs. The illustrative work was performed by Nicolas-Henri Jacob (1782–1871), who was a student of famed painter Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825).

"The first five volumes of Traité complet de l’anatomie de l’homme dealt with descriptive anatomy; volumes six and seven covered surgical anatomy; and the last volume discussed general and philosophical anatomy. It is considered to be one of the most comprehensive and beautifully illustrated anatomical works ever published.”

Autonomic nerves of the face, neck, thorax and abdomen by Nicolas Henri Jacob from ‘Traité complet de l’anatomie de l’homme’ by Marc Jean Bourgery, 1831.

Dissection to show branches of the trigeminal nerve (cranial nerve V), glossopharyngeal nerve (cranial nerve IX), and hypoglossal nerve (cranial nerve XII). Spinal nerves and brachial plexus, vagus nerve (cranial nerve X), and laryngeal nerves, esophageal plexus, and celiac plexus also shown.

Marc-Jean Bourgery (1831-1854). Traité complet de l’anatomie. Volume 6, Plate 6.

This plate demonstrates the dissection of the neck and axilla. It depicts the neck muscles, parotid gland, jugular veins, and submandibular gland.

I was hanging out with this book at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library this afternoon, which has a really impressive collection of anatomical books. It includes a 1st edition of Vesalius's De humani corporis fabrica (1543), as well as the second edition annotated by Vesalius himself (with notes on changes intended for the third edition). That edition wasn’t published until after Vesalius’s death in 1564, making this version of the manuscript his last produced work before his death. 

Oh, it’s also just really beautiful. 

Marc-Jean Bourgery (1831-1854). Traité complet de l’anatomie. Volume 6, Plate 14.

This plate demonstrates positions for holding a scalpel. This particular volume of Bourgery’s anatomical series gets pretty grisly (i.e. big section on how to perform amputations of various body parts). I have spared you.

Goiter removal

Detail of another original lithograph from Marc Bourgery’s landmark anatomical atlas ’ Traité complet de l’anatomie de l’homme……..’ vol.VII, Paris, 1840.
17×12 overall. $100.00
Facsimile of title page included.
For more information and scans contact me at

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