Visiting the Anatomy Museum in the Old Medical School at Edinburgh University

Phew. That's a long title.

Thought i'd just share a few drawings from this visit we made to the anatomy museum. It was incredible to see all the bits of bodies in jars and an entire sliced up man. There was also a full set of new-born baby's bones all neatly laid out. Quite gruesome.

Photography is not allowed and neither is ink or charcoal or pastel (got to respect the bits of bodies/preserve them!) so we were let loose with our pencils and paper.

I only lasted 90 minutes drawing in there until I was well and truly scunnered.

The 'inguinal region'. I'm calling it that from now on.

A womb! With a tiny embryo in it!

A slice of man

The story of Bowed Joseph was fascinating. He sounded like the police's worst nightmare. Something to take away from this: don't make the police's life hard or they'll hand your rickety skeleton in a box to be gawked at by medical/art students.

"Joseph Smith otherwise known as "Bowed Joseph" or General "Bowed Joseph" was a cobbler who lived in the Cowgate. He was severely deformed by rickets but had very muscular arms. He was a force to be reckoned with in the mid-18th century as was used by the City Council to settle the grievances of the Edinburgh citizens as he was able to control the crowds whether it be to collect a crowd to do his bidding or to disperse a crowd after acting as a negotiator and always managed to obtain a hogshead of ale to appease his followers.
Joseph's wife had to answer to his whistle. She was not allowed to walk beside him, staying a few paces behind as he thought that women were inferior to men. He used to walk through the city banging a drum with his wife walking behind him and could easily raise a crowd of 10,00 persons ready to do his bidding.
One time during a scarcity, the Edinburgh mob at his bequest compelled the meal-dealers to sell their meal at a restricted price. However, on of them used a measure that only gave three-quarters of the usual measure. When Joseph found out he forced the culprit to give the whole amount before his premises were ransacked by the avenging mob while the law looked on.
This leader of the people was killed by a fall from the top of a stage-coach when returning from Leith races in an intoxicated state in 1780."

And a spinal column and brain to finish. There were so many other incredible things I didn't draw - lungs and veins and tiny skeletons and bits of things in jars. I would love to go back.

If you'd like to visit the museum:

"The museum is open to the public on the last Saturday of each month from 10am to 4pm (last admission 3.30pm). The Anatomical Museum can be subject to closure at short notice, please check the Anatomy website for details of the next day the museum is open. 
Please note that the museum is closed throughout June, July and December.
At other times the museum is a study space for medical students and there is no visitor access."

Please note: all images ©Katie Chappell 2017 do not reproduce without express permission. If you'd like to use any, please get in touch: