LEFT: Chalk and watercolour drawings by William Clift, 1793.
Physician Matthew Baillie (1761–1823) employed artist William Clift to draw his dissected specimens in watercolour. This was the first stage in translating Baillie’s dissections of bodies on to the two-dimensional printed page.
CENTRE: Engraved copperplate by James Basire II, 1799–1802.
Clift’s drawings were engraved onto copperplates by James Basire II. The image is reversed on the plate so that it appears the right way round when printed.
RIGHT: Printed illustration in A series of engravings … intended to illustrate the morbid anatomy of some of the most important parts of the human body, published London, 1799–1802.
Different printing techniques use different methods to produce three-dimensional effects. Fine lines and hatched areas create texture and tone in engravings. However, a smooth gradation of tone is not possible, and some of the textural effects in Clift’s drawings do not appear in the final printed version.
Explore the complete printed book online:
View the catalogue records for the drawings, engraved copperplates, and book.