Educational illustrations aim to bring subject matter to life but their creators require knowledge beyond that of an artist. Creating illustrations requires an additional in-depth understanding of the subject matter which often comes from academic study or practical experience. Such fusions of artistic and academic skills are illustrated in the educational illustrations held across the museum collections. Many of the items listed below were made at a time when large posters, models and lantern slides were the principal visual aids in the classroom.


Poster of Selaginella helvetica
(Swiss clubmoss)

Swiss botanists Dr Arnold Dodel-Port (1843–1908), from the University of Zurich, and his wife, Carolina, created a beautiful series of illustrations of plant systematics. They show in great detail information on life cycle, structure and interactions with host species. The Herbarium holds 28 of the original series of 42 plates. Once used to illustrate lectures, they now hang on the walls of the Cruickshank Building which houses the Herbarium.


Tapirus Americanus (American Tapir)

Zoologist and paleontologist, Henry Alleyne Nicholson was Regius Professor of Natural History at Aberdeen from 1882 to 1899. He was also an amateur artist who left a large number of his teaching aids to the University. These include many large canvases on a wide range of topics from illustrations of animals, large and small, to human anatomy.


Parotid and Submandibular glands lateral view, ABDAN:40.9

Robert Lockhart’s seminal work the Anatomy of the Human Body was first published in 1959. Seven artists and photographers contributed illustrations for the work; Alberto Morrocco, D.J. Stephen, W. Cruickshank, D.W. Cameron, R.W. Matthews, Eric Naylor and Alexander Cain.

Alberto Morrocco (1917-1998) is the most prominent of these, despite being better known for his landscapes. He produced these anatomical drawings in the period following his service as a conscientious objector in the Medical Corps during WWII. He is not known to have produced any other anatomical works during his life, and this collection is a unique example of his work. The University's Art Collection managed by the museums holds several portraits, sketches and a landscape by Morocco. 


Fabric backed posters showing black and white photographs of the
normal solar spectrum. ABDNP:200706a

Henry Augustus Rowland (1848-1901) was the first Professor of Physics at the newly founded Johns Hopkins University. The Natural Philosophy Collection holds a set of nine fabric-backed posters showing black and white photographs of the normal solar spectrum. They date back to 1888 when they were used for teaching.


For more information on the University museum and archival collections please search the online catalogue.