The sick rose, or, Disease and the art of medical illustration

Barnett, Richard, 1980- author

Publication Details Click to collapse Cite/Export

  • Creator Richard Barnett
  • Format Books
  • Contributors
  • Publication New York, NY : D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, Inc., [2014] ©2014
  • Physical Details
    • 253 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 25 cm
  • ISBNs 9781938922404, 1938922409
  • OCLC ocn861673497


  • "The Sick Rose is a visual tour through the golden age of medical illustration. The nineteenth century experienced an explosion of epidemics such as cholera and diphtheria, driven by industrialization, urbanization and poor hygiene. In this pre-color-photography era, accurate images were relied upon to teach students and aid diagnosis. The best examples, featured here, are remarkable pieces of art that attempted to elucidate the mysteries of the body, and the successive onset of each affliction. Bizarre and captivating images, including close-up details and revealing cross-sections, make all too clear the fascinations of both doctors and artists of the time. Barnett illuminates the fears and obsessions of a society gripped by disease, yet slowly coming to understand and combat it. The age also saw the acceptance of vaccination and the germ theory, and notable diagrams that transformed public health, such as John Snow's cholera map and Florence Nightingale's pioneering histograms, are included and explained. Organized by disease, The Sick Rose ranges from little-known ailments now all but forgotten to the epidemics that shaped the modern age"--Publisher description.


  • "354 illustrations, 345 in color."
  • "This book is published in partnership with Wellcome Collection and the Wellcome Library, a part of the Wellcome Trust"--Title page verso.
  • Includes bibliographic references (pages 244-245) and index.


  • Introduction : disenchanted flesh -- Skin diseases : the boundary of the body -- Leprosy : more than skin deep -- Smallpox : blistered by Act of Parliament -- Tuberculosis : the white death -- Cholera : a free trade in disease -- Cancer : the claws of the crab -- Heart disease : crowns and murmurs -- Venereal diseases : a lifetime with mercury -- Parasites : colonizers colonized -- Gout : fashionable agony
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