Robert Carswell’s Pathological Anatomy

Robert Carswell's Pathological AnatomyThe Glasgow University Library Special Collections Department’s October Book of the Month was Pathological Anatomy: Illustrations of the Elementary Forms of Disease by Robert Carswell.

This beautifully illustrated folio volume consists of forty four coloured lithograph plates with accompanying descriptions of various pathological conditions. The text and the drawings were undertaken by Sir Robert Carswell, who was both a distinguished practitioner of pathology and a skilled artist. Perhaps overshadowed by more well known anatomical atlases, this is a monumental work that deserves further study.

Carswell’s motivation for creating this landmark work echoes a one of the central theme’s of TEHI: the importance of being visual. He “undertook its publication because of ‘the great difficulty, and frequently the impossibility, of comprehending even the best descriptions of the physical or anatomical characters of diseases, without the aid of coloured delineations.’