Listers Antiseptic Operating Table and a 1.5m-Long Surgical Knife: Glasgow Shop Display Items of Queen Victoria and Dr Livingstone Medical Instrument Makers to Sell at Bonhams Scottish Sale

A collection of shop display items from Hilliard and Chapman, who were “Cutlers and Surgical Instrument Makers to The Queen and Prince Albert,” based at 56 Buchanan Street, Glasgow, will be sold at Bonhams annual Scottish Sale in Edinburgh between 22 – 24 August 2007.

Hilliard and Chapman, one of Scotland’s most famous firms, produced medical equipment of great importance to the medical profession, and were at the forefront of invention in producing fine quality surgical instruments and artificial limbs for hospital throughout Scotland and the world. They became the first Scottish firm to ever be awarded a medal at London’s International Exhibition in 1862, and won more prizes at London in 1881 and in Glasgow in 1883. They became famed not only for their royal connections, but also for producing the instruments that the pioneering medical missionary and explorer Dr David Livingstone, who named Victoria Falls in Africa after his reigning monarch, carried with him until his death at Ilala.

Of particular interest in the collection is an advertising knife measuring 148cm (58 “) long, which would have been used in the shop’s display. It features a carved ivory handle depicting a thistle and a rose flanking George and the Dragon, and its steel blade is engraved Hilliard (1832), Lockfast Patent. It is expected to fetch between £3,000 – 5,000 when it goes under the hammer at Bonhams.

Also included in the sale is a scale model of an operating table, designed and made by W.B. Hilliard, and a replica of the original used by Joseph Lister at Glasgow Royal Infirmary in 1863 for his Antiseptic Operations. It is expected to attract bids of between £250 – 350.