John Barclay (anatomist)
He was born in Perthshire 10 December 1758, the son of a farmer, and nephew of John Barclay, who established the Berean Church, Barclay initially studied divinity at the University of St Andrews, and served as a minister. Then working as a family tutor, he educated himself in biological topics and anatomy. Pupils of his entered the University of Edinburgh in 1789, and Barclay became an assistant there to John Bell the anatomist, and was also associated with his brother Charles Bell. His employer Sir James Campbell financed the completion of his medical course.
Barlay qualified M.D. at Edinburgh, before studying anatomy under Andrew Marshall for a year in London. He returned to Edinburgh and established himself as an anatomical lecturer in 1797. Until 1825 he delivered two complete courses of human anatomy, a morning and an evening one, every winter session, and for several years before his death gave a summer course on comparative anatomy. His classes gradually grew in reputation; in 1804 he was formally recognised as a lecturer on anatomy and surgery by the Edinburgh College of Surgeons, and in 1806 he became a fellow of the Edinburgh College of Physicians.
Barclay supported his former pupil William Dick when he established his Dick Veterinary School. He died on 21 August 1826, after two years' illness, during which his classes were carried on by Robert Knox, another former pupil.
Barclay contributed the article Physiology to the third edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1797). He developed ideas for a nomenclature of human anatomy based on scientific principles in A New Anatomical Nomenclature (1803). In 1808 he published a treatise on The Muscular Motions of the Human Body, arranged according to regions and systems, and with applications to surgery. This was followed in 1812 by his Description of the Arteries of the Human Body, the result of original study and dissection. A second edition appeared in 1820.
He furnished descriptive matter to a series of plates illustrating the human skeleton and the skeletons of some animals, published by Mitchell of Edinburgh in 1819–20. Several of his lectures on anatomy were published posthumously in 1827. Another work was An Inquiry into the Opinions, Ancient and Modern, concerning Life and Organisation, published in 1822.
Barclay married Eleanora, daughter of his former employer Sir James Campbell of Aberuchill, in 1811.
- Sir George Ballingall (1780 1855)
- William Dick (1793–1866).
- Dr Robert Knox (1791–1862)
- Robert Liston (1794–1847)
- James Syme (1799–1870)
- "Barclay, John (1758-1826)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- "John Barclay (1758–1826) extra-mural teacher of anatomy in Edinburgh: Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh". Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. 2006. Retrieved 6 December 2010.
- Sir William Jardine (1841). The naturalist's library. W. H. Lizars. p. 42. Retrieved 4 April 2012.