Thomas Rowlandson (1756–1827): The Persevering Surgeon
The notion that the anatomist/surgeon never gives up is presented in Rowlandson’s drawing The Perserving Surgeon. Here the practioner is dissecting a female cadaver. His lascivious expression and raised phallic scalpel whilst thus ‘ravishing’ the body in his possesion again expresses prevalent ideas as to the activities of these gentlemen. Rowlandson cannot be absolved from the accusation of using such naked female bodies for the purpose of voyeurism and, in some instances, for pornography. The articulated human and animal skeletons, bottles of specimens, and tub for entrails in this print complete the recognisable venue.
Source: Fiona Haslam: From Hogarth to Rowlandson: Medicine in Art in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Liverpool University Press, 1996)