Amé Bourdon was born in Cambrai, France, in 1636 or 1638, the son of an engineer in the service of the Spanish crown. Having studied science extensively, he decided to attend the university in Douai at the age of 37. He practiced as a physician in Cambrai for much of his life, and died on December 21, 1706. Little else is known of him.
In 1678, Amé Bourdon published his double folio anatomical plates, Nouvelles tables anatomiques, most likely through the assistance of his patron Jacques Theodore de Brias, archevêque de Cambrai. The work consists of 16 individual plates, several of which can be combined to form complete human figures. The plates, which were drawn by Bourdon himself, were created using the etching needle and the burin on copperplate and are signed by the engraver Daniel Le Bossu (fl. 1671–1678). Some copies were hand colored and possibly illuminated by the publisher, as the title page (plate ) and the entry for the work in the catalog of the Bibliothèque nationale de France state.
The anatomical images were labeled with letters and then later described by a small 12mo work, Nouvelle description anatomique de toutes les parties du corps humain, & de leurs usages, which was published in Cambrai in 1679 (View the Record).
The National Library of Medicine's copy is bound in contemporary calf, but its pages are severely buckled, most likely because the binder did not take into account the grain direction of the paper. As the paper has expanded and shrunk over the centuries due to humidity and other environmental conditions, different parts of the plates have changed shape at different rates, but they remain attached to the binding in the same, unchanging places.
Choulant, L. History and bibliography of anatomic illustration. Trans. and annotated by Mortimer Frank. (New York: Hafner, 1962), p. 249.
Dictionnaire de biographie francaise, (Paris: Letouzey et ané, 1933- ), vol. VI, col. 1450.