The Parts Party – ‘Heroic Treatment’

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March 21, 2013 by Victorian Body Parts Conference

Here at the Victorian Body Parts blog, as you would imagine, we’re rather keen to have a good old ogle at some of the more curious ‘articulations’ of the Victorian body. So, from time to time, we’ll post an example of a “bit” of the nineteenth-century body to whet your appetite for the conference.

We’re calling it the ‘Parts Party’ – and no, you can’t stop us.

For our first example, we’re delighted to show you a patient of what is euphemistically dubbed ‘heroic treatment’:

James Morrison, lithograph, 1850, Wellcome Library exhibit L0034504, used under Creative Commons Licence

James Morison, lithograph, c. 1850, Wellcome Library exhibit 565110i, used under Creative Commons Licence

‘This is how I looked after what the doctors call “HEROIC TREATMENT”‘ is part of a satirical series on orthodox medical methods by Morison, who gained fame as a seller of health-promoting ‘Universal Vegetable Pills’. Sadly, after a period of immense popularity and fame – and once the pills had been implicated in coroners’ courts as playing a role in a death or two – Morison decided that France needed the benefit of his medical and comical gifts.

For more on this colourful figure of Victorian medicine, see his ODNB entry, or the UCL’s Bloomsbury Project for more on his institution, the British College of Health.

We’d love to hear your examples – submit them via or @victbodyparts (#partsparty) and let’s see what bits and knobs we can connect. After all, as the old song goes, ‘the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone’. (Technical terms available on request.)

Beatrice and Emma
@beatricebazell and @emmalcurry


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