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Private view / tour

Walking Tour - Sensational Bodies: London's golden age of anatomy

  • Tuesday, 24 Jul 2012

  • 11:00 - 13:00

  • Adults

Guide: Dr Richard Barnett, Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Fellow

If Leonardo the anatomist could have chosen to work in another time and place, he might well have picked eighteenth-century London. Two centuries after he had completed his remarkable anatomical studies, this city was the most advanced and exciting centre of anatomical discovery in the world. Two Scottish brothers – William and John Hunter – were remaking anatomy in the image of the European Enlightenment. Their work took inspiration from Leonardo, whom William described as 'by far the best Anatomist and Physiologist of his time'. 

In ‘Sensational Bodies’  we’ll meet the Hunters, along with dozens of anatomists who began to explore the terra incognita of the human body, just as Captain Cook mapped the unknown islands of the Pacific. But as we’ll discover, anatomy was never just the private pursuit of physicians and surgeons. This was science conducted in the public gaze, and artists, aristocrats and the thrill-seeking demi-monde flocked to witness dissections, operations and lectures by the stars of the day. And this grand edifice of new knowledge was built on grim foundations. In uncovering the secrets of the human body, surgeons and anatomists were complicit with hangmen, body-snatchers and their unfortunate victims.

Join Dr Richard Barnett, historian of medicine and Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow, for an unforgettable journey into the heart (and other organs) of Enlightenment London. 

This event will be repeated on the 26 July.

Tickets must be pre-booked.

Adult £16.00, Over 60 / Student £13.00

Bookings by telephone 020 7766 7323


Tickets include entry to the Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomist exhibition at The Queen's Gallery, London. Entry to the exhibition is by timed ticket only. Arrange a time to visit the gallery when making your reservation on the walking tour.  

In collaboration with Wellcome Collection.