Should it have been Carter's Anatomy, not Gray's?

Gray's Anatomy is probably the most famous medical text book in the world. Even non-medical people have heard of it, and not simply because of the television series of the slightly different name ! The book was an almost instant success when it was published in 1858 and since then has been in print continously. While many medical illustrators have now contributed to the outstanding collection of images that the book has contained over the more than 150 years it has been around, the original medical illustrator perhaps hasn't received the credit he deserved.

Many people assume that Gray's Anatomy was the work of a single man but while Henry Gray's vision and knowledge were vital, the book stood out from all of its peers because of the illustrations and these were the work of Henry Vandyke Carter (Carter). Both men had been students at St George's Hospital in London before becoming teachers there.

The book was titled Anatomy, Descriptive and Surgical on the title page inside, but on it's spine the title was simply Gray's Anatomy and it was this title that the book was refered to. The work was split very clearly with Gray writing all of the words and Carter providing all of the illustrations. Carter is reported to have wanted equal credit but the ambitious Gray refused and Carter did not get the level of fame or recognition the work deserved at the time.

The illustration work for Gray's Anatomy was all done in pen and ink, a medium that has gone out of fashion but does allow beautiful and clear medical illustrations to be created. The book is now in its 40th edition and published by Elsevier and while the illustrations are no longer Carter's originals, he must take more of the credit than he has probably been given for the success of a remarkable book.

Further reading on the subject

If you are interested in reading the full story of the making of Gray's Anatomy we would strongly recommend Ruth Richardson's book - The Making of Mr Gray's Anatomy .

You can get the latest edition of Gray's Anatomy on Amazon by following this link;
Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice, Expert Consult - Online and Print

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