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Health manuals and chromolithograhic illustrations

Fold-out chromolithograph illustrating an anatomical model of the male body, with a list of its different partsFold-out chromolithograph illustrating an anatomical model of the male bodyFold-out chromolithograph illustrating an anatomical model of the male bodyFold-out chromolithograph illustrating an anatomical model of the male bodyFeatured here are two health manuals from 1880 and approximately 1900.

Health manuals were a popular genre, appealing to people who could not afford doctors or who were suspicious of medical professionals.

These popular reference works gave practical advice on a range of healthcare issues, including childcare, the treatment of various illnesses and first aid.

These works were more ambitious than many of their predecessors, as they offered anatomical knowledge as well as practical guidance on health matters.

Chromolithograph illustration of the chest and digestive system, with facility to fold out sectionsChromolithograph illustration of the chest and digestive systemThe images on the right are from the Household medical adviser, published in 1900; and the image to the left is from The family physician, published in 1880. Both works feature ‘pop-up’ chromolithographs.

Chromolithographs greatly appealed to Victorian readers, who had a particular love of colour, and during the second half of the 19th century vast numbers of colour lithographs were produced commercially.

Chromolithographs were produced using a number of separate stones for each colour, which were overprinted one after the other.

These type of books are rare, due to the fact that medical school libraries have not always collected works of popular medicine; and these manuals are valuable sources for an area of medical history which may otherwise be overlooked.

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