Adrien Barrère (1874-1931) produced a series of lithographs of the Professors in the Faculties of Medicine and the Law, four of the former and two of the latter. Barrère printed the plates himself and sold 420,000 over a period of twenty-five years and provides an informal glimpse into French medicine of the early 20th century.

Information provided on the caricature cast is based on the original work of orthopaedic surgeon Mr David Le Vay MS FRCS and his 1971 publications in The Practitioner

This second lithograph of Barrère is likely to have been produced around 1906. It includes a grouping of Sixteen French doctors with specialty accoutrements.

From left to right the personalities depicted are as follows:

(1) Paul Ferdinand Segond (1851-1912), holding uterus impaled on myoma corkscrew. He was Professor of Clinical Surgery, chief surgeon at the Salpetriere, elected to the operative medicine section of the Academy in 1909, President of the Society of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Paediatrics, and author of an `Atlas Manuel de Technique Gynecologique‘. Eponymously affiliated with the Segond fracture he first described in 1879.

(2) Joseph-Jules Dejerine (1851-1912), eminent neurologist, Professor of Medicine, physician to the Salpêtrière and the Charité, and member of the Academy’s morbid anatomy section from 1908. Dejerine’s most famous work was his ‘Séméiologie des affections du système nerveux.’ He also had a famous collaboration with his wife, Augusta Klumpke (1859-1927). Together they wrote the ‘Anatomie des centres nerveux‘, in 1894, as well as many other publications. His wife described Klumpke’s palsy of the lower trunk of the brachial plexus, she survived him and founded a research laboratory in his memory.

Barrère A. Sixteen French doctors with attributes of their specialties 1200 2
Barrère A. Sixteen French doctors with attributes of their specialties. Barrère, ca. 1906, JSTOR

(3) Louis Théophile Joseph Landouzy, (1845-1917) was Dean of the Faculty for a period and member of the section of medical pathology from 1894; scientific editor of Revue de médecine. He demonstrated the tuberculous nature of many pleural effusions and was an enthusiast for what was then called ‘opotherapy’ (the use of organ extracts in the treatment of glandular deficiencies). This was a period of growing interest in testicular and thyroid extracts as possible aids to rejuvenation.

(4) Félix de Lapersonne (1853-1937) was a Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology in 1901 and member of the section of surgical pathology. Lapersonne made contributions to syphilitic optic neuritis; ophthalmoneuromyelitis (Devic disease) and invented the Lapersonne capsulo-iridotome, a punch forceps used in cataract surgery.

(5) Philippe-Charles-Ernest Gaucher (1854-1918) was Professor of Dermatology and Syphilology and member of the section of medical pathology from 1910. He worked at the Hôpital Saint-Louis and in 1882 described the lipid reticuloendothelioses (Gaucher disease).

(6) Charles-Marie Gariel (1841-1924) was Professor of Medical Physics and member of the section of medical physics and chemistry. He worked in public health and meteorology, optics and acoustics. He was also a politician and Inspecteur-General des ponts et chaussées.

(7) Édouard Brissaud (1852-1909) wearing a top hat and picking his neighbour’s pocket, was a pupil of Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-1893). He helped to localize disease of the pituitary gland as the cause of acromegaly and wrote on cerebral anatomy and aphasia. He was editor of the Revue Neurologique and eponyms include Bourneville-Brissaud disease (tuberous sclerosis); Brissaud disease (Tourette syndrome) and the Brissaud reflex.

(8) Nicolas-Augustin Gilbert, (1858-1927), depicted as a small man with an apron, was Professor of Clinical Medicine and Therapeutics. He wrote on cirrhosis and other forms of liver disease, portal hypertension and avian tuberculosis. His early career as consultant and lecturer was brilliant; but he withdrew from public life at the age of 52, ceased to publish, and lived a hermit’s life as a solitary bachelor surrounded by works of art. Only at his death was it revealed that he had been suffering from a painful and incurable abdominal disease which followed an operation in 1904, and which he had kept secret. Eponym: Gilbert syndrome

(9) Jacques-Paul Reclus (1847-1914), with a syringe and having his pocket picked by Brissaud, was Professor of Clinical Surgery, chief surgeon at the Charité, and member of the operative medicine section of the Academy from 1895; and conseiller général for the Basses-Pyrénées. Reclus was a leading advocate for the use of local anaesthesia in surgery, particularly cocaine.

(10) Georges-Henri Roger, (1860-1946), tall and bearded, was Professor of Experimental Pathology and member of the morbid anatomy section of the Academy from 1910. He was a medical physiologist, wrote on bacteria-therapy, serotherapy, and was also a playwright and author of philosophical works.

(11) Odilon-Marc Lannelongue, (1840-1914) bemedalled and carrying a head, was a pathologist and member of the section of surgical pathology from 1883. He was interested in paediatric surgery, orthopaedics and osteomyelitis. Working at the Hôpital Trousseau, he made a collection of a thousand pathological specimens, mainly of skeletal tuberculosis, which was later housed at the Musée Dupuytren. First to describe Osgood-Schlatter disease in 1878

(12) Jean-François-Auguste Le Dentu (1841-1926) was Professor of Clinical Surgery at the Hôtel-Dieu, specialising in urosurgery he wrote ‘Traité de chirurgie clinique et opératoire‘, and was an amateur cellist. He is remembered for performing the first cure by nephrectomy in France (1875); and performing the first nephroureterectomy for upper tract urothelial cancer in 1898, with Joaquín Albarrán (1860-1912)

(13) The polymath, Charles Robert Richet (1850–1935) best known for his pioneering work in immunology is shown carrying a clarinet and a model dirigible. He was Professor of Physiology and academician in anatomy and physiology at the Académie de Médecine from 1898. He was one of the pathfinders in antitoxin therapy. He showed that the blood of animals vaccinated against an infection protects against this infection (1888). Applying this principle to tuberculosis, he did the first serotherapeutic injection done in man (1890).

In 1913, he won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “in recognition of his work on anaphylaxis” after demonstrating the hyperimmune or anaphylactic state as the response to a second challenge with foreign protein. He also wrote numerous novels, essays and plays.

(14) Édouard Francis Kirmisson (1848-1927), carrying an artificial leg and a whip, is obviously an orthopaedic surgeon. He was Professor of Paediatric Surgery and wrote on disorders of the locomotor system and congenital deformities and founded the Revue d’orthopédie. Kirmisson regularly used a whip in his practice, flagellating the calf muscles in paralytic calcaneus deformity and beating the Achilles tendon with the handle to make it shorten in Kirmisson’s operation.

(15) The little man, absorbedly jotting down in his notebook the words `absolument, absolument’, is Louis-Félix Terrier (1837-1908), Professor of Operative Surgery and Appliances from 1893 and of Clinical Surgery at the Bichat from 1900. In France his name is linked with Lister’s in advancing operative surgery on the basis of Pasteur’s work and he was the doyen of aseptic surgery in France in a period of confused antisepsis and asepsis. From 1893 on he ran a model aseptic service at the Bichat, where infected and clean cases were nursed apart and candidates for major abdominal surgery were kept in separate rooms for one or two patients, adjacent to the theatre. The residents looking after such patients were not allowed to visit other cases, the surgeon’s hands and the patient’s skin were washed, and sterile gowns, autoclaved instruments and towels were routinely used.

Barrère A. Sixteen French doctors with attributes of their specialties 1200 2
Barrère A. Sixteen French doctors with attributes of their specialties. Barrère, ca. 1906, JSTOR

(16) Eugène-Louis Doyen (1859-1914) was a flamboyant figure and regarded by the Parisian profession as something of a provincial upstart. He originally had his surgical clinic at Reims, where his father was Professor of Anatomy, but moved to Paris in 1904. There he established his own private clinic in a hospital, of 120 beds, that straddled two avenues and had separate entrances on either avenue, one for distinguished foreigners and the nobility, one for the middle classes. Doyen built his own operating theatres and laboratories for pathology and bacteriology; there were departments of radiology and photography, lecture-rooms and a gymnasium, and a workshop for the construction of orthopaedic appliances, as well as different consulting-suites for different diseases.

Avid for publicity and a bold innovator, he applied to operative surgery the latest scientific techniques. He was a skilful and rapid operator and reduced the operating times for craniotomy and hysterectomy to a fraction of their former duration. Certain procedures, it was said, revealed him to be ‘un des premiers bistouris du monde‘.

In 1898, he began to use cinematography to teach operative technique. This aroused bitter opposition but eventually became widely adopted after he had demonstrated his results at a Berlin exhibition of medical teaching methods in 1902.

Doyen was editor-in-chief of the Revue Critique de Médecine et de Chirurgie, as well as the Archives de Doyen, a medico-surgical journal of the Doyen Institute. His success was acknowledged grudgingly though he was never given academic recognition, but this may have been because he died at the early age of 57.

His brilliance has long been eclipsed and he is known to us only by his surgical tools such as the Doyen mouth gag and the Doyen Rib Raspatory that bear his name.


Original image

LITFL Lithograph series

  1. Peschanski N, Cadogan M. A vivid grouping (1903). LITFL
  2. Peschanski N, Cadogan M. Sixteen French doctors (1906). LITFL
  3. Peschanski N, Cadogan M. Twelve Professors of Pathology (1910). LITFL
  4. Peschanski N, Cadogan M. A Cluster of Surgeons (1910). LITFL

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Prof. Nicolas Peschanski currently works as a Consultant in Emergency Medicine at the Urgences Adultes-SAMU-35 SMUR, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Rennes. Nicolas does research in Emergency Medicine at U1096 INSERM EnVI Normandy University research Unit. He's Associate Prof. teaching Clinical Medicine and Emergency Medicine at Rennes-1 University School of Medicine. Involved in the #FOAMed development, he is a current member of the french Society of Emergency Medicine Guideline Committee.


BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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