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  • Title
    An Essay on the Origin, Connection, and Distribution of the Nerves of the Human Eye, and its Appendages; by Henry Gray
  • Reference
    RCS-SCH/22/1/1
  • Level of description
    item
  • Date
    1846
  • Creator
  • Scope and Content
    Complete title - An Essay on the Origin, Connection, and Distribution of the Nerves of the Human Eye, and its Appendages; illustrated by Comparative dissections, of the eye, of other vertebrate Animals. Volume containing Henry Gray's essay on the nerves of the eye, which won the college Triennial Prize for 1846. Contains a list of invertebrate, vertebrate, and human specimen preparations with page references, an introduction, and chapters about invertebrata cephalapoda [sic], vertebrata pisces, reptilia, aves, mammalia, human eyes - the retina, the optic nerve, the third nerve, the fourth nerve, the sixth nerve, nerves to the appendages of the eye, the fifth nerve, and facial nerves. Also includes 16 illustrations: 1 showing the structure of the eye of the cod, annotated; 1 showing a portion of the fibrous lamina, annotated; 1 showing the structure of the retina in frogs, snakes, and turtles, annotated; 1 showing the structure of the human retina, annotated; 1 showing the nerve tubules of the optic nerve, annotated; 1 showing the macula centralis retina; 1 showing the development of the retina of fowl embryos across several hours; 4 continuing the fowl embryo observations at 2 days; 1 showing the nerves tubules from the human optic nerve; 1 showing nerve fibres; annotated; 1 showing microscopic structures of the ciliary ganglians of the human, annotated; 1 showing a portion of the human Capserian ganglian, annotated; and 1 showing ganglianic cells, annotated. Features his motto "Palmam qui Meruit ferat' ["let whoever earns the palm bear it"], and on the final page of the essay is a message of gratitude to Hunter, Owen and Swan for their dissection preparations in the College museum.
  • Extent
    1 Volume; 358 pages
  • Language
    English
  • Conditions governing access
    By appointment only. See College website for contact details of the Archives.
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  • Admin./ biographical history
    Henry Gray (1827-1861) was a distinguished anatomist and a promising surgeon. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1852 at the young age of 25, and later in 1860 was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. Henry Gray and Henry Vandyke Carter worked together at St George’s Hospital. They began to collaborate to create a practical and affordable textbook to aid anatomy students and emerging surgeons. This collaboration resulted in the creation of the classic text "Anatomy, Descriptive and Surgical", now known as ‘Gray’s Anatomy’. As research for the textbook, Gray and Carter carried out many dissections together. Gray was responsible for describing the dissections for the text in the publication, and Carter was responsible for illustrating the textbook. The result was that Gray’s text was clear and easy to understand. Carter’s illustrations were presented in a different way to contemporary textbooks, with the labels for the illustrations as an integral part of the drawing, rather than as a key beside the illustration. Carter’s illustrations were engraved for the publication by Butterworth and Heath using wood blocks. The first proofs of the engravings were printed onto fine ‘India’ paper to be checked before continuing through the publication process. The book was finally published in 1858, with the Lancet and the British Medical Journal both giving very positive reviews. The book was successful due to its size, simple and well organised layout, the clarity of the text, and significantly the fine and detailed illustrations. The publication Gray’s Anatomy is now the longest running anatomical textbook in the world, having gone through 40 editions since its first publication in 1858.
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