This charter gave the College the important right to collect the bodies of four hanged criminals each year, from Tyburn, for anatomy lessons.
This world ‘cosmography’ describes the geography, landscape, flora, fauna and peoples of the world as known to European explorers in the 1570s. It contains a number of detailed maps, with sea monsters included in some of the seas.
The Flemish geographer and map maker Abraham Ortelius (1527–1598) is recognised as being the creator of the first modern atlas. His maps were based on the latest reports from explorers who visited lands that were new to Europeans.
Uroscopy – the examination of urine – was one of the principle diagnostic techniques that were available to physicians for hundreds of years, until recent centuries. This urine wheel describes the different colours, textures and smells that a physician might observe in a urine sample, and explains what these mean for the patient’s health and prognosis.
William Harvey (1578–1657) is one of the College’s most famous members. His discovery that blood circulated round the body, pumped by the heart, revolutionised medical practice. The medical school at Padua was the most prestigious in Europe when Harvey studied there.
William Harvey is shown demonstrating his theory of the circulation of the blood to King Charles I.
Harvey started to deliver the College’s famous anatomical dissections, known as the Lumleian lectures, in 1616. This lecture series, which consisted of anatomical demonstrations, was founded in 1582 and the post of Lumleian lecturer was usually granted for life. While delivering the lectures over the next decade, Harvey worked out his revolutionary theory on the circulation of the blood.
This is the first pharmacopoeia that was published in England. It contained a list of medicinal drugs and recipes for medicines, in Latin. This was the official list of recipes that had to be used by apothecaries across England to make up medicines. The College continued to publish the only official list of approved drugs until the new General Medical Council took over in 1858, producing the British Pharmacopoeia.