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Title: John Browne's 'Treatise of the Muscles' (1681) and the image of mobility in late seventeenth-century London
Author: Morris, Sophie Elisabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 7970 6515
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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In late seventeenth-century London, anatomists, artists, actors and print collectors studied images of the moving, muscular body. John Browne's Treatise of the Muscles (1681) includes anatomical plates that display the intersection between different types of bodily knowledge within this period. Browne's images can be read as part of a genealogy of traditional anatomical visual production and yet they include contemporary postures, gestures and fashionable accoutrements such as canes and wigs. As such they can be understood alongside alternative, supplementary imagery, including conduct manuals, fashion plates, artist's drawing books and architectural plans. Exploring these less familiar precedents and isolating new trajectories for the anatomical image serves to temper scholarly narratives that focus upon the 'bloody spectacle' of the dissection theatre. Instead, the focus upon this anatomical treatise, presents us with a set of images through which to investigate the social body of the seventeenth-century user of such texts. The way that Browne's plates convey knowledge of the muscular structure indicates that the potential use value of these images is in excess of the practical field of medical study. Browne's figures embody seventeenth- century notions of Restoration sovereignty, courtesy and civility, characterised in a dialogue between macrocosmic social order and micro- muscular mechanical control. In the chapters of this dissertation Browne's bodies are considered alongside three different contexts of cultural production: the discernibly fashionable body, the artifice and illusion of the playhouse and the muscular system imagined as sculptural form. This thesis, in the broadest terms, is an examination of the repaired, post-Restoration, public muscular body that required study and care to remain elegant and civil. Following the trail of the animated anatomical body through a broad array of visual material demonstrates the complexity - and pleasure - of viewing muscular representation at a specific historical moment in London.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available