Sunday, March 06, 2005

"At Padua Evelyn acquired the preparations of human arteries, veins and nervesdissected out in the anatomy theatre by [Johann] Vesling's assistant, the surgeon Giovanni Leoni. Dried and mounted on four panels-the "tables" of Evelyn's description-these preparations were shipped to England by a circuitous route, and reunited with Evelyn in 1649. He records that he showed them to "Moulins the greate Chirurgion" in April of that year.3 Finally in October 1667 Evelyn presented the tables to the Royal Society, having some years previously declined Dr Charles Scarburgh's invitation to donate them to the College of Physicians.

... Evelyn's tables were presumably displayed there, until virtually the entirecontents of the repository were made over to the British Museum in June 1781 ... Held in store by the British Museum for a number of years, the tables were eventually presented to the Royal College of Surgeons in 1809, together with a miscellaneous collection of mainly medical and anatomical objects deemed "unfit to be preserved in the Museum". Here they survived the Blitz and the subsequent rustication of the Hunterian Museum collections, and are today displayed in the Museum in Lincoln's Inn Fields."--'John Evelyn's Tables of Veins and Arteries: a rediscovered letter' by Richard K. Aspin. Medical History, 1995, 39: 493-499.