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Carswell Drawings

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0103 CARSWELL
Held at: University College London
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Full title: Carswell Drawings
Date(s): 1827-1864
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 1,025 drawings and 3 boxes of MS material
Name of creator(s): Carswell | Sir | Robert | 1793-1857 | Knight | physician and pathologist
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Carswell was born in Paisley, Scotland, on 3 February 1793. He studied medicine at the University of Glasgow where he was noted for his skill in drawing. He spent 2 years working at hospitals in Paris and Lyons, 1822-1823. He then returned to Scotland and took his MD at Marischal College, Aberdeen, in 1826, before returning to Paris. In about 1828 he was nominated by the Council of University College London to be Professor of Pathological Anatomy there, but before starting teaching duties he was commissioned to prepare a collection of pathological drawings. He remained in Paris till 1831 when he had completed a series of two thousand water-colour drawings of diseased structures. He then came to London and undertook the duties of his Professorship. Soon afterwards, he was also appointed physician to University College Hospital; however he never practised and embarked on preparing a great book on pathological anatomy. This book was published in 1837 as 'Illustrations of the elementary forms of disease'. Later in life he became unwell and in 1840 he resigned his Professorship and accepted the appointment of physician to the King of the Belgians. Carswell spent the remainder of his life in Belgium, being occupied in official duties and charitable medical attendance on the poor. He was knighted in 1850 by Queen Victoria. He died on 15 June 1857.


Scope and content/abstract:

Sir Robert Carswell's anatomical drawings, with manuscript notes describing the cases illustrated, 1827-1838, and a catalogue, dated 1864.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The drawings are individually numbered and correspond to the numbering system now used in the case notes. They were originally arranged in a single running number order but were later grouped by body part or condition and an alphanumeric code was used instead.

Conditions governing access:

Open. The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Normal copyright restrictions apply.

Finding aids:

Catalogued on CALM to item level

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Commissioned by University College London.

Allied Materials

Related material:

This collection is supplemented by three boxes of uncatalogued manuscript notes by Carswell. These include three volumes of case notes to accompany the drawings and loose notes relating to other un-illustrated cases. To view this material, please contact UCL Special Collections reader services.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:

Date(s) of descriptions:
1999 modified 09/02/2018

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