Historia Plantarum

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Maple Leaf illustration from Conradi Gessneri Historia Plantarum by Conrad Gessner (1516-1565)

Needing a little garden inspiration this summer? The Osler Library has a selection of eight beautifully illustrated volumes of Conradi Gessneri Historia Plantarum by Conrad Gessner (1516-1565). Each botanical specimen found on the pages of Gessner’s Historia Plantarum are facsimiles of the 16th century originals, printed on 100 gram heavy paper and individually set and glued in their original form.

Gessner was a Swiss botanist, physician, and classical linguist. In 1972, Urs Graf Verlag (a Zurich-based publishing firm) and a team of conservator-restorers at University Library of Erlangen-Nüremburg embarked on the careful process of creating these facsimiles from Gessner’s originals. We are pleased to have these eight beautiful volumes in our rare folio collection, and as with all of our rare materials, these items are available to view upon request during library hours.

 

 

With Wit and Whimsy

We recently came across some amusing caricatures while processing new additions to the Cecil Percy Martin fonds and the Kelen Family collection in the Osler archives. It’s no surprise that university lecturers make ideal subjects for this kind of expression!

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Caricature of Cecil Percy Martin, St. Patrick’s Day, 1941.

Dr. Cecil Percy Martin (1892-1977) was a popular Professor of Anatomy at McGill, well-known for his compelling speaking ability, and his Irish wit. This caricature is part of Martin’s personal scrapbooks that were recently donated to the archives. Alongside clippings of medical articles, postcards, and family photographs, he included this caricature that was left on his desk by a student on St. Patrick’s Day, 1941.

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Dr. Robert Knox caricature, ca. 1825. Artist unknown.

Dr. Robert Knox (1792-1862) was a nineteenth century Scottish (Edinburgh) anatomist known for his lectures and dissections that were usually open to public viewing with the purchase of a ticket. Knox was not known for his sense of humour. He had a particularly dark reputation for side-stepping the law, using undeniably questionable means in order to attain his ‘fresh’ cadavers.

This depiction of Dr. Knox posing with a skeleton hand is thought to have been drawn by one of his students circa 1825. Several copies of the caricature are in existence. This particular one was given to Dr. W. W. Francis (1878-1959), the first Osler librarian, in 1925 while Francis was in Oxford cataloguing the Bibliotheca Osleriana. It is now part of the Kelen Family fonds, donated to the Osler Library by Francis’ granddaughter.

Another caricature included in the Kelen Family fonds is one sketched by W. W. Francis himself. The image exaggerates and pokes fun at his weight gain following his recovery from pulmonary tuberculosis in 1911. “Mount Vernon” was the name of the boarding house that Francis occupied at St. Agathe Sanatorium, The Laurentian Society for the Treatment and Control of Tuberculosis. A “glove stretcher” was a wooden peg, shaped more-or-less like a pair of scissors, used by nineteenth century ladies who struggled to put on their leather gloves that had shrunk in the wash water.

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W. W. Francis’ self-drawn caricature upon leaving St. Agathe Sanatorium, 1911.

The ability to laugh at oneself is an important component of a person’s mental health and well-being. As the Irish proverb goes: A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything!

Michèle LaRose – Osler Library Artist-in-Residence Programme

We are now accepting submissions for the Michèle LaRose – Osler Library                  Artist-in-Residence Programme!  Application details found here.

Value: $6000

Application deadline: June 1, 2016

Colour mezzotint illustration from Exposition anatomique de la structure du corps humain, by Gautier Dagoty, 1759

Colour mezzotint illustration from Exposition anatomique de la structure du corps humain, Jacques Fabien Gautier d’Agoty, 1759

 

Health Art Exhibition: accepting submissions

“Wherever the art of Medicine is loved, there is also a love of Humanity.” – Hippocrates

pastedImageHealth and illness are universal experiences that can be frightening and disorienting, yet also have the potential to inspire, transform, and heal. Out of this, there arises a need to express, make sense of, and derive personal meaning from what has been experienced. One of these ways is through art.

Artwork is currently being accepted for the Health Art Exhibition, which will be taking place  winter 2016 at the MUHC Glen site hospital, with specific dates to be announced! To submit artwork for the exhibit: https://goo.gl/e6cE9C

Deadline for submissions: Friday, February 5, 2016. 

For questions and further details, please contact 2015health.art@gmail.com.

https://healthartexhibition.wordpress.com/

 

Exhibition catalogue now online

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The exhibition catalogue for our current exhibition, “Artistic Practice Scientific Vision: British Artistic Anatomy in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineetenth Century,” curated by Dr. Allister Neher is now online!

This vivid exhibition explores the intersection of art and anatomy in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Britain. Medical students and art students of the period frequented the same milieux, as aspiring doctors studied drawing at places like London’s Royal Academy of Arts and young artists studied anatomy at private medical schools.

Be sure not to miss the exhibition in person, on through the end of February.