Knives Out! A history of human dissection

The role of the cadaver in medicine is largely hidden away in the modern world, but historically there are many depictions of the act of dissection. This talk will look at the history of dissection, and the role it has played in shaping the medical world. Starting with its brief flowering in ancient Alexandria, it will move through to its flourishing in the Italian states, and later ubiquity in the golden age of medicine, taking in murderers, body snatchers and the 1832 Anatomy Act along the way. It will also consider what depictions of dissection in art reveal – and hide – about this act.


Cat Irving has been the Human Remains Conservator for Surgeons’ Hall since 2015 and has been caring for anatomical and pathological museum collections for over twenty years. After a degree in Anatomical Science she began removing brains and sewing up bodies at the Edinburgh City Mortuary. Following training in the care of wet tissue collections at the Royal College of Surgeons of England she worked with the preparations of William Hunter at the Hunterian Museum at Glasgow University, where she is now Consultant Human Remains Conservator. Cat is a licensed anatomist, and gives regular talks on anatomy and medical history. She recently carried out conservation work on the skeleton of serial killer William Burke

don’t worry if you miss it – we will send you a recording valid for two weeks the next day


27 August 2024 8:00 pm - 09:30 pm

£6 - £10 & By Donation

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