Anatomy of an Athlete Exhibition ~ Royal College of Surgeons

Update - 21st September 2012

Congratulations to the British canoeing pair Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott who won a Gold Medal in the 2012 London C2 Canoeing final. What makes the achievement even more impressive is that an accident in training nearly ended Etienne's sporting career. He suffered a serious shoulder injury which required keyhole surgery from one of the UK's leading shoulder surgeons. Both the damage from the original injury and the surgial procedure to repair it is featured in an animated 3D movie as one of the other exhibits at the RCS Anatomy of an Athlete Exhibition.

We would also like to take the opportunity to thank the GB Mens Hockey Team as they continue to develop well and were the well placed GB Olympic Hockey team. They kindly gave up their time in training to help us create our pieces for the Anatomy of an Athlete Exhibition.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England promotional video for the Anatomy of an Athlete Exhibition
featuring Joanna Culley from as one of the four participating medical artists

The Huntarian Museum, Royal College of Surgeons' has worked closely with the Medical Artists' Association of Great Britain to create a medical art exhibition exploring the anatomy and physiology of elite athletics, to run in conjunctiion with the Olympics 2012. Ranging across different media and sporting disciplines, the medical artists illustrate the key role played by sports and exercise medicine, and surgery in particular. Joanna Culley as a professional member of the MAA, and was one of four artists chosen to create original artworks for this exhibition.


The exhibition explores the latest techniques in orthopaedic surgery, innovative developments in prosthetics and the importance of training to muscle development. Joanna and the other medical artists used a variety of different mediums including watercolour, video and sculpture to represent a selection of sports and para-sports. The exhibition will be running for 6 months and has already attracted a lot of attention, featured on the BBC News UK and Disability Arts Online.
This art provides a unique opportunity to study in detail the best of British at running, hurdling, canoeing and hockey.

The Qvist Gallery is holding the exhibition located at The Hunterian Museum, Royal College of Surgeons' of England. Entry to museum exhibitions are free of charge. Exhibitions are open Tuesday - Saturday, 10am-5pm unless otherwise stated.

The Hunterian Museum holding The Anatomy of an Athlete Exhibition in the Qvist Gallery


The Qvist Gallery is located with in the Hunterian Museum, a fantastic space in itself. The museum originated from the collection by John Hunter in 1799.

John Hunter came to London in 1748 at the age of 20 and started out as an assistant in an anatomy school. Over his lifetime he built his collection to 14,000 preparations of more than 500 different species of plants and animals, all located today together in this one museum. Hunter is today remembered as a founder of `scientific surgery'.

He was unique in seeking to provide an experimental basis to surgical practice, and this amazing museum is a lasting record of his pioneering work. It is a honour to be able to exhibit in this space.



This sculpture was completed by Richard Neave and Denise Smith from the Medical Artists' Association of Great Britain.


The Artists and Members of the MAA who Participated

Details of the exhibit by Joanna Culley ~ The Benefits of Exercise


Joanna Culley's brief was to demonstrate the benefits of exercise, using an elite sport as the core for the illustrations. Hockey was one of the sports available, as permission had been granted to watch Team GB Hockey team in action, at one of their training sessions for the Olympic squad. Who better to use, than an elite athlete.

Here the benefits of exercise could really be demonstrated, and by comparing the anatomy to a non-fit person, even an unhealthy one. It was obvious when watching the team play, that strong shoulder muscles are key to a hockey player. They need to maneouver the ball, hit the ball and have the flexibility to bend, rotate, swerve at speed. Muscle fitness means increased fibres and blood vessels.

Cardiovascular was another obvious one, sprinting over 90 minutes means your heart must be used to extreme exertion. And lastly the knee, where exercise helps build strong supporting muscle and ligaments, that in the long term will help sustain the knee even into old age. For example, even diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, will benefit from continued movement, stretching, and exercise even as mild as walking to the shops, that helps to keep the knee mobile.

Bony-anatomy-shoulder Heart-anatomy

Thanks to the Hunterian team and Team GB Hockey Squad and Coaching staff for their assistance in this project. In particular thanks to APOS Therapy the sponsor and to Courtney Kipps the Principal Clinical Teaching Fellow and Honorary Consultant in Sport and Exercise Medicine Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health, University College, London.

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