Solitary vice? Sex and dissection in Georgian London
With Dr Simon Chaplin
5th June 2013
Doors at 6:30 / Talk begins at 7:00 pm
Ticket price £7 An illustrated lecture with Dr. Simon Chaplin of the Wellcome Library, formerly of the Hunterian Museum
In his watercolour of a ‘Persevering Surgeon’, the British artist Thomas Rowlandson made no bones about the darkly erotic nature of anatomical dissection. Poised over the body of a naked woman, erect knife in hand, Rowlandson’s anatomist conjured images of the other solitary vice that consumed later 18th century moralists and medical men. But like Rowlandson – who combined popular satirical illustration with a more discreet trade in pornographic imagery – anatomists maintained a delicate balance between personal pursuits and public propriety. In this lavishly illustrated lecture, Simon Chaplin explores the sexual undertones of the anatomy schools of Georgian London, in which students dissected grave-robbed bodies in the back-rooms of their teachers’ houses, while their masters explored new strategies for presenting their work to polite audiences through museums and lectures.
Dr Simon Chaplin
Dr Simon Chaplin is Head of the Wellcome Library in London. Before joining the Wellcome he was Director of the Hunterian Museum in London, one of the world’s oldest anatomy collections. His research interests include the history of anatomy, surgery and museums, and his doctoral thesis explored the relationship between dissection and display through the work of the Hunterian Museum’s founder, the surgeon John Hunter (1728-1793).
The Last Tuesday Society is honoured to house this exhibition and lecture series cultivated in collaboration with Joanna Ebenstein of the rightfully venerated ‘Morbid Anatomy’ Library, Museum & Blog.
Talks take place at The Last Tuesday Society at 11 Mare Street, London, E8 4RP – please click here to buy tickets