John Bell, Anatomia, Skull

John Bell, Anatomia, Skull

This late 18th-century engraving by John Bell (1763-1820) is a precise study of a skull from two angles. It’s exquisitely rendered and equally macabre.

Bell was apprenticed to a surgeon and, in 1793, produced ‘The anatomy of the bones, muscles, and joints’ to aid his studies. It applied practical surgery to anatomy in a simple, understandable way, and was later accompanied by a collection of engravings.

There were 28 plates in total, of which this skull is one. Astonishingly, they were mostly drawn and engraved by Bell himself, which perhaps adds to their sense of gothic horror immediacy.

The engraving is housed within a later frame.

Medium: Hand-coloured engraving on paper
Overall size: 12½” x 15½” / 31cm x 39cm
Year of creation: 1794
Condition: Overall very presentable.

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