Alembic Blog

Seeing Inside: The Golden Age of Anatomical Flapbooks

Today almost everyone has seen inside a real human body. We have access to an incredible array of visual resources: high-resolution photographs, x-rays, MRI scans, videos of surgical procedures, and even the cryogenic slices of the Visible Human Project. But throughout most of history there were only a few options - viewing bodies in real life, which was generally not very pleasant and sometimes illegal; as expensive hand-made models; and as illustrations. Among the most interesting of anatomical texts from this period are flapbooks. Rather than depicting the body statically as in most book illustrations, they are an attempt to create a deeper understanding of organ systems as they relate to each other in three dimensions, with the viewer an active participant who "dissects" the body by opening the flaps.

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An Incredible Chromolithographic Pharmacy Catalogue

The most recent addition to our website is an evocative, late-19th century pharmaceutical catalogue from the Parisian firm Legendre & Saget with 27 large, bright chromolithographic plates, the most beautiful of which depict glassware, ceramic jars, chemical labels, and cosmetic boxes, some with metallic gold and silver highlights.

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