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Crucial Interventions: 10 graphic medical illustrations from the 19th Century

Published: 27th October, 2015 at 00:00
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Crucial Interventions is the beautiful but gruesome follow up to The Sick Rose by Richard Barnett – here are some of the grisly medical drawings inside.

Medicine saw great advances over the course of the nineteenth century with many discoveries such as anaesthetic and germ theory saving the lives of many who took to the operating table, but it also played host to the rise of the surgeon from the work of a barber to that of the aristocracy.


Richard Barnett follows this golden age of surgery in the follow up to his 2014 award winning book, The Sick Rose, with this collection of beautiful but truly gruesome medical illustrations taken from rare surgical textbooks in The Wellcome Collection archive.

So if you’re of strong stomach and inquisitive mind (and willing to see eyeballs pierced, toes hacked off and intestines inspected) come right this way.

Crucial Interventions: An Illustrated Treatise on the Principles and Practice of Surgery by Richard Barnett and The Wellcome Collection


Incision and two procedures for caesarean section.

p51 human brain

Vertical cross section of the human brain.

p59 resection of lower jaw

Resection of the lower jaw.

p81-82 surgery to correct strabismus

Surgery to correct strabismus, involving the division of the internal rectus of the right eye.

p110 cancer of the tongue

Surgery for cancer of the tongue.

p136 liagture of arteries in arm

Sites for ligature of arteries in the lower arm and resection of the arm at the elbow joint.

p141 compression of arteries

Compression of arteries in the arm and leg to reduce blood loss during surgery.

p170-171 anatomy of intestine

Surgical anotomy of the large intestine.

p219 surgical knives

Surgical saws, knives and shears for operations on bone.

p237 toe amputation

Amputation of various toes, and amputation of the toes at the metatarsals.

See incredible images from The Sick Rose

All images © Wellcome Collection

Crucial Interventions: An Illustrated Treatise on the Principles and Practice of Surgery by Richard Barnett and The Wellcome Collection is available now for £19.95 hardback


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