George Viner Ellis

George Viner Ellis FRS (25 September 1812 Minsterworth - 25 April 1900 Minsterworth) was Professor of Anatomy at University College London and one of the foremost anatomists of his time.

Ellis was Demonstrator of Anatomy under Professor Richard Quain, and succeeded him in the Chair of Anatomy in 1850, retiring as Emeritus Professor in 1877, but always aloof from the professional world. He was succeeded by Sir George Dancer Thane (1850-1930). Ellis was one of the great names of the world of anatomy in England, having given all his working life to the study and teaching of this discipline, and was held in the highest respect. His lectures were conscientiously precise and lucid, so that his students always paid close attention.

In 1840 he published "Demonstrations of Anatomy: being a Guide to the Knowledge of the Human Body by Dissections", his name becoming a household word among medical students, and his work becoming the standard textbook in England and the United States. The 11th edition of his book was published in 1890.

University College London in its first thirty-five years of existence, published an extraordinary number of anatomical atlases. Ellis carried on this tradition by collaborating with the South African natural history illustrator, George Henry Ford, to produce some of the best anatomical artwork ever published. They used the relatively new technique of chromolithography for their imperial folio atlas of fifty-eight plates, "Illustrations of Dissections in a Series of Original Coloured Plates the Size of Life". The plates were done between 1863 and 1867, with from four to seven completed each year. These plates are considered exceptionally clear and accurate, with an aesthetic depiction of the cadavers, printed by Mintern Bros., and published by James Walton.

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