Online Exhibits@Yale

Creating the Atlas

Plate 6-Icthyosis hystrix

Pl. 6. Ichthyosis hystrix (Hebra), 1861
Modern Term:  Epidermal nevus, systematized

Linear streaks of brown warty papules that appear at birth or during infancy. The curvature of the bands reflects distribution along Blaschko’s lines not dermatomes.

The New Sydenham Society was founded in London to address "acknowledged deficiencies in the existing means of diffusing medical literature."

To meet its objective, the society would publish for subscribers "translations, papers, and essays on foreign works of merit to be reproduced as early as practical after their original issue."

Atlas der Hautkrankheiten (Atlas of Skin Diseases) begun in 1856 by Viennese physician Ferdinand Ritter von Hebra was selected for publication in a New Sydenham Society edition during the Society’s first year of operation.  The Hebra atlas was known for its outstanding illustrations created by Anton Elfinger.

The illustration shown here, Plate 6, was copied from Hebra’s atlas as is indicated on the plate. 

Plate 16-Eczema and eczema rubrum

Pl. 16 Eczema/eczema rubrum, 1866
Modern Term:  Same/atopic dermatitis

Atopy consists of the triad of asthma, hay fever, and extensor (infants) or flexural (adults) eczema, more precisely termed atopic dermatitis.

The first seven plates of the New Sydenham Society Atlas were each copied from Ferdinand Hebra’s atlas, after which, it was decided by the Society’s Council

“…that portraits equally good, as regards execution, and more faithful to the features of skin diseases as displayed in British practice, might be obtained from original drawings…"

This plate is by artist Edwin Burgess who was chosen to continue the project.  He would complete the British atlas, creating original drawings of patients in and about London, many under the care of Jonathan Hutchinson, the Society’s secretary. 

Plate 35-Kerion from ringworm

Pl. 35 Kerion from ringworm, 1872
Modern Term:  Tinea capitis, and if boggy pustular plaques, kerion

In tinea capitis, alopecia is due to breakage of hair shafts made fragile by the proliferation of dermatophyte conidia within them. Cell-mediated response to infection may produce a boggy edematous plaque of the scalp called a kerion.

As with Hebra’s atlas, Edwin Burgess's drawings were taken from life and rendered in watercolor.  They are stated to be life-size.   Burgess was also the lithographer, praised by Hutchinson and others for his skill.  The chromolithographs were printed by W. West in London as is stated on the plate.

This plate was distributed to Society subscribers twelve years into the project.

Creating the Atlas