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The Bones, Author Unknown

06 Nov 2015

Geraldine O’Driscoll

The BonesHeld in our Archives is a small leather-bound manuscript with two silver clasps, simply entitled The Bones.

The author of this work, which dates from 1815, cannot be identified. The Royal College of Surgeons of England acquired it in 1953, for the princely sum of £3.

Its previous owner was the Society of Apothecaries, who received it as a donation from a gentleman called Arthur John Hubbard. Hubbard was both a member of The Royal College of Surgeons of England (MRCS) and a licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries (LSA).

The BonesThe manuscript (Archives ref. MS0476) also contains the letter of donation, wherein Hubbard poses some pertinent questions:

  • Was the manuscript finished?
  • Who wrote it?
  • Where was it written?

Unfortunately, these questions remain unanswered to this day.

However, far more fascinating are the 14 beautifully hand-drawn plates contained at the back of the book, depicting parts of the skeleton. Two examples are presented here.

As Arthur John Hubbard puts it so well in his letter, The Bones is “the work of a man of very considerable artistic power. Long ago some member of our profession bestowed much care upon it.”

Geraldine O’Driscoll, Library & Archives Assistant

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