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The Sick Rose… Medical Illustration of Diseases and Decay

Last week when I was researching Dr. Richard Barnett’s book Crucial Interventions: An Illustrated Treatise on the Principles & Practice of Nineteenth-Century Surgery, I came across another book of medical illustration he had curated called The Sick Rose: Disease and The Art of Medical Illustration. While his book of surgical illustrations was morbidly enjoyable, The Sick Rose is outright disgusting, rancid, and amazing! You can feel the pain and suffering emanating from the page, and who doesn’t love a good leprosy illustration? These are gorgeous pieces of art, with some of the worst subject matters you can imagine.

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  • Head, shoulders, and hands of a baby suffering from hereditary syphilis. Lithograph by Franz Mracek, published in Atlas of Syphilis and the Venereal Diseases, 1898.
    Head, shoulders, and hands of a baby suffering from hereditary syphilis. Lithograph by Franz Mracek, published in Atlas of Syphilis and the Venereal Diseases, 1898.
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  • Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
    Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
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Written By

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation.



  1. Melissa Presnell Kloepfer

    January 19, 2016 at 1:58 am

    Logan Angeline

  2. Michael Anthony Ayala

    January 19, 2016 at 1:01 am

    Bought this book a while back, my chihuahua chewed one of the corners after like 2 days. I’m still mad at her.

  3. Emiliano Ferazzini

    January 19, 2016 at 12:50 am

    got it, and “Crucial Interventions: An Illustrated Treatise on the Principles & Practice of Nineteenth-Century” too. it’s by the same publisher, it came out a couple of months ago

  4. Phoebe Sofia Matich

    January 18, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    What are all those fetid tongues supposed to be afflicted with?

  5. Trey M Patterson

    January 18, 2016 at 4:12 pm


  6. Juan Sebastián

    January 18, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Gólgota Voraz

  7. Jan Adm

    January 18, 2016 at 10:24 am

    Anyone has a pdf copy?

  8. Daniel Junqueira

    January 18, 2016 at 8:44 am

    Felipe Pessanha Alex Lazarini

  9. Marie-Jose Bremer

    January 18, 2016 at 7:04 am

    Victor Van Tienen

  10. Alli Olwell

    January 18, 2016 at 6:41 am

    i have this book

  11. Ale Marocchi

    January 18, 2016 at 6:30 am


  12. Patrick Campbell

    January 18, 2016 at 6:23 am

    Cary Longchamps

  13. Raven Lee Willis

    January 18, 2016 at 4:56 am

    Branwyn Gwynneth

  14. Braloem Moemba

    January 18, 2016 at 4:08 am

    Mooi was die tijd

  15. Jemma Frances Edwards

    January 18, 2016 at 2:43 am

    Charlie March

  16. Geoffrey Cosemans

    January 18, 2016 at 2:36 am

    Wout Santermans vies nice!

  17. Stephen Foster

    January 18, 2016 at 1:58 am

    Chris Lees

  18. Jukus Sepada

    January 18, 2016 at 1:53 am


  19. Kaushik Nandan Sarma

    January 18, 2016 at 1:46 am


  20. Kat Sinclaire

    January 18, 2016 at 1:39 am

    The blue skin one is me IRL

    “So sicka your shit”

  21. Mari Derosas

    January 18, 2016 at 1:32 am

  22. Chris Gonzales

    January 18, 2016 at 1:29 am

    Very interesting, indeed!!!

  23. Lance Shepherd

    January 18, 2016 at 1:28 am

    Stephanie Eagle

  24. Elena Puch

    January 18, 2016 at 1:20 am

    Libraco, Daniel. Check this outttt.

  25. Lisa Aurel

    January 18, 2016 at 1:13 am

    Fantastic article.

  26. Kate Barnett

    January 18, 2016 at 1:09 am

    Larson Sei

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