|Description||Camper was born in Leiden, Germany on 11th May 1722. He studied medicine and philosophy at the University of Leiden. His professors included Pieter van Musschenbroek and Willem Jacob 's Gravesande for physics and mathematics, Herman Boerhaave and Hieronymus David Gaubius for medicine; François Hemsterhuis for philosophy. After his parents died he travelled to England in 1748 where he met with William Smellie. |
From 1755, he lived in Amsterdam, Netherlands where he occupied a chair of anatomy and surgery at the Athenaeum Illustre and later the chair of medicine. He withdraw five years later to dedicate himself to scientific research. In 1763 he accepted the chair of anatomy, surgery and botany at the University of Groningen. Camper started a surgical clinic and used his own drawings to illustrate his lectures, before retiring in 1773. He was awarded an honorary fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh on 17th December 1782. He died in The Hague on 7th April 1789.
One of the first scholars to study comparative anatomy, Petrus Camper demonstrated the principle of correlation in all organisms by the mechanical exercise he called a 'metamorphosis'. In his 1778 lecture, 'On the Points of Similarity between the Human Species, Quadrupeds, Birds, and Fish; with Rules for Drawing, founded on this Similarity,' he metamorphosed a horse into a human being, thus showing the similarity between all vertebrates. Camper is also known for his theory of the 'facial angle' originally in connection with beauty.
Contents: Obstetrical drawings, 1752