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The Anatomy of Humane Bodies

William Cowper, 1698

Born in Petersfield, Sussex, William Cowper (1661-1709) began practicing surgery in London in 1691. His work The Anatomy of Humane Bodies, considered to be a great act of medical plagiarism, used 105 plates drawn by Gérard de Lairesse and published in Govard Bidloo’s 1685 book, Anatomia Humani Corporis. Although Cowper commissioned nine new plates for the work and wrote original text using a great deal of original research and new interpretations, he never gave Govard Bidloo proper credit for his contributions. In response to accusations of plagiarism, he argued the plates were not Bidloo’s at all, and the two were involved in numerous published exchanges, with each anatomist defending his own case.


Large folio, tightback sewn on cords, front board detached, rear board loose. Recommendation: re-attach boards using tacketing, repair joint with goatskin inserted under leather on board edge and extending slightly onto leather of spine.