Treasure's description

The surgeon's chest

The surgeon's chest

This interesting illustration of the tools of his trade was published in 1639 by the skilful Warwickshire-born surgeon John Woodall in ‘The surgeons mate, or, Military & domestique surgery’. It was dedicated to Charles the First and adorned with an impressive portrait of the monarch on his charger. Gruesome the tools may seem but the accompanying text proves Woodall to have been humane in his concern for avoiding unnecessary suffering and his injunction that the practitioner should think himself into the place of his patient. He lays great emphasis on the cleanliness of equipment and in preserving it free from rust.