The Making of Mr Gray's Anatomy, By Ruth Richardson

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The Independent Culture

It is "what Mrs Beeton's is to cookery or Roget's is to thesauri". Like those tomes, Gray's Anatomy has now received its own biography, which is as fascinating and occasionally disconcerting as the work it describes.

We learn that the publisher John W Parker & Son was located in the building now occupied by Coutts on the Strand, opposite Yeates' Ham & Tongue Warehouse. Richardson devotes a chapter to the "raw material" of the book, "the bodies of several adult men and at least one woman, possibly two, and a child".

They acted as models for images that "minimise the flinch and maximise the interest for the viewer." These drawings were not the work of Henry Gray but his forgotten partner, the Scarborough anatomist Henry Vandyke Carter.