A Pair of c.1856 Anatomical Coloured Lithograph Studies From Surgical Anatomy, by Joseph Maclise, Published by M. & N. Hanhart

Origin: English
Period: Mid 19th Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1851-6
Height: 20.5 inches
Width: 12.5 inches (each and approximate)

In portrait form, the unframed studies hailing from ‘Surgical anatomy’ by Maclise, Joseph and published in London : J. Churchill, 1856, and published by M. & N. Hanhart show two male anatomies and are hung with mid twentieth century bulldog clips.

There is some discoloration and spotting to the page edges in places, and to the reverses and both plates have been crudely cut at their sides but the wholes still remain decorative and the diagrams and annotations remain in tact so this only serves in adding some more character. They are hung with large mid twentieth century bulldog clips, which are included in the sale.

The studies concentrate on the inner workings of the upper male torso and include the digestive and breathing systems. These studies have come from the second edition of Surgical Anatomy by Jospeh Maclise, revised with some plates redrawn and others added, after the first edition published in 1851. "The drawings of Maclise for Quain's Anatomy of the arteries and for his own Surgical anatomy are indeed done, as Quain wrote, with spirit and effect. These figures of anatomical dissection seem lifelike; in many plates the figure is shown as a torso, or a bust, or as a full-or half-length figure. The faces seem to be a gallery of portraits, perhaps of visitors to the 1851 Great Exhibition. They are mostly young men with fine hair-bearded, clean-shaven, or mustachioed, with or without sideburns; occasionally there are remarkably handsome black men. Many appear god-like. This is indeed 'high' art, only incidentally of an anatomical subject. If the analogy is not too far-fetched, Maclise's drawing may be compared with the work in different media of the English Romantic poets or of the composer Berlioz. The same comparisons have been made in relation to the work of the Victorian artist Daniel Maclise (1806-70), Joseph Maclise's older brother. They remained close, traveling in Italy together, and sharing houses in Bloomsbury and Chelsea" (Roberts & Tomlinson p. 564). Heirs of Hippocrates 1751 (first edition).

The lithographic publishing house M. & N. Hanhart, founded by Michael Hanhart, had a long and successful history. It published its first prints in 1840 and continued to produce work beyond 1888. The firm published a wide range of material, from book illustrations to lithographic sheet music covers, but it was in the field of large, individual chromolithographs that M. & N. Hanhart excelled. Using a complex layering of tint stones, Hanhart printed elaborate works unique for their colouration and tonal values.

This pair are indeed 'high' art, only incidentally of an anatomical subject.