15 Dorsum of the Forearm and Thumb

Title: Dorsum of the Forearm and Thumb

Artist/ Source: Joseph Lister (1827-1912)

Date: 1850 (Signed in the lower left corner “J.L. 4th of 3rd mo/ 1850”)

Medium/ Technique: chalk with pen and ink inscriptions

UCL Art Museum #4802

This drawing shows the dorsum (in Latin literally “back”) of the forearm and thumb. An attached key also by Lister’s hand describes the parts in Latin. It includes his personal notes on the perceived abnormalities of the drawn anatomy which suggests that the sketch is based on performed dissections and reflect individual anatomy, rather than the generalised anatomy found in such illustrated treatises as by Albinus. They provide an unique opportunity to trace Lister’s scientific observations and experiences as a physician.

The radial artery in this drawing is the only feature depicted in red, paralleled by a fine arteriole branching at both ends and appearing to join the radial artery beneath feature no.13, the exterior carpi radial languor. A flap of dissected muscle exits the main features of the illustration diagonally to the left. Lister has created the effect of shadow where this flap meets feature no. 10, part of the flexor carpi, by using a thicker stroke and closer set lines in his cross-hatching. This large unlabelled flap enters the anatomy above another muscle, delineated both by outline and a different textural rendering in lighter, parallel chalk lines. This second muscle too appears to be shadowed by the main features, darkening as it falls beneath feature no. 9, the exterior carpi ulnasus.

Translation of Accompanying Key

Back of the Forearm

  1. Radial artery
  2. Abductor indicis [actually the abductor pollicis brevis? ]
  3. Extensor opis metacarpi pollicis [?}
  4. Extensor primo internodi pollicis- which is here unusually inserted with the preceding muscle with the metacarpal bone of the thumb [referred to presently as the extensor pollicis brevis- the muscle attaches to the radius and interosseous membrane, then moving through the osseofascial tunnel, inserted at the proximal phalanx of the thumb, her called the metacarpal bone, shown here with insertion closer to point of muscle’s origin] (Dean, 61)
  5. Extensor secondi internodi pollicis [referred to presently as the extensor pollicis longus, arises from the ulna and interosseus membrane, passes over the radius and around bony tubercle, and inserts into distal phalanx of the thumb] (Dean, 61)
  6. Extensor communis digitorum [referred to presently simply as the extensor digitorum, which divides into six tendons passing onto the four fingers, all of which are pictures]
  7. Indicator, part of whose tendon is unusually united with that of the extensor secundi internodi pollicis’ ulna as In the case of the thin arm of the (corpse?) body [referred to presently as the extensor indicis, which extends the indicator, or pointing finger] (Dean, 62)
  8. Extensor minimi digiti
  9. Extensor carpi ulnaris
  10. Pad of the flexor carpi ulnaris
  11. Arconeus [referred to presently as the annular ligament, which joins the head of the radius to the ulna] (Dean, 31)
  12. Extensor carpi radialis brevis [note the inconsistent use of the interchangeable terms terms primo and brevis, secondi and longus- is this period terminology or a Lister phenomena?]
  13. Extensor carpi radialis longus
  14. Ulna
  15. Oecranon process [the part of the ulna which fits into the Olecranon fossa at the elbow joint, the Trochlear notch represented] (Dean, 23-4 and 33)
  16. External condyle of the humerus [referred to presently as the lateral epicondyle] (Dean, 25)

Tendon of common extensor and ring finger giving an oblique band to each (contiguous?) tendon [note that the word “of” has been crossed out before the word “ring”, revealing Lister’s concern for grammatical correctness in this parallel structure]

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