Henry Gray

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Henry Gray
Henry Gray bw photo portrait.jpg
Born 1827
Belgravia, London
Died 13 June 1861(1861-06-13) (aged 34)
Belgravia, London
Residence Great Britain
Fields Anatomy
Known for Gray's Anatomy

Henry Gray (1827 – 13 June 1861) was an English anatomist and surgeon most notable for publishing the book Gray's Anatomy. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) at the age of 25.


Gray was born in Belgravia, London, in 1827[1][2] and lived most of his life in London. In 1842, he entered as a student at St. George’s Hospital, London (then situated in Belgravia, now moved to Tooting), and he is described by those who knew him as a most painstaking and methodical worker, and one who learned his anatomy by the slow but invaluable method of making dissections for himself.

While still a student, Gray secured the triennial prize of Royal College of Surgeons in 1848 for an essay entitled The Origin, Connexions and Distribution of nerves to the human eye and its appendages, illustrated by comparative dissections of the eye in other vertebrate animals. In 1854, at the early age of 27, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and in the following year he obtained the Astley Cooper prize of three hundred guineas for a dissertation “On the structure and Use of Spleen”.

In 1858, Gray published the first edition of Anatomy, which covered 750 pages and contained 363 figures. He had the good fortune of securing the help of his friend Henry Vandyke Carter, a skilled draughtsman and formerly a demonstrator of anatomy at St. George’s Hospital. Carter made the drawings from which the engravings were executed, and the success of the book was, in the first instance, undoubtedly due in no small measure to the excellence of its illustrations. This edition was dedicated to Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie, Bart, FRS, DCL. A second edition was prepared by Gray and published in 1860. The book is still published under the title Gray's Anatomy and is widely appreciated as an extraordinary and authoritative textbook for medical students.

Gray held successively the posts of demonstrator of Anatomy, curator of the museum and Lecturer of Anatomy at St. George’s Hospital and was in 1861 a candidate for the post of assistant surgeon.


Gray was struck by an attack of confluent smallpox.[clarification needed] Gray picked up the disease from his nephew who was infected with smallpox. He died in London on 13 June 1861[3] at the age of 34 and was buried at St James, Pancras and Highgate Cemetery.[4][5]


  1. 1841 census for 8 Wilton Street, St Geo Han Sq: Henry Gray, age rounded to 15yrs (implies born 1826), medical student, whether born in this county = Yes (implies born Middlesex) - HO107/732 Bk.2 f.28 p.19
  2. 1851 census: Henry Gray, house surgeon aged 24 (implies born 1827), of St Geo Han Sq, born St George's Hanover Square, London - HO107/1478 f.649 p.1
  3. "Happy birthday, Gray's Anatomy". Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 22 (4): 342–5. October 2009. PMC 2760169. PMID 19865508.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. GRO Register of Deaths: JUN qtr 1861 1a 174 St Geo Han Sq - Henry Gray
  5. "DServe Archive Persons Show". .royalsociety.org. Retrieved 18 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Some information was extracted from an article which appeared in the St. George's Hospital Gazette of 21 May 1908 and has been taken directly from Gray’s Anatomy-Thirty-seventh International Student Edition.
  • Pearce, J M S (April 2009). "Henry Gray's Anatomy". Clinical anatomy. United States. 22 (3): 291–5. doi:10.1002/ca.20775. PMID 19280653.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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