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In 1815 he began his studies in Paris, where he attended courses given by naturalist Jean Baptiste Lamarck (1744–1829). From 1817 to 1820 he worked as an interne at Parisian hospitals, and subsequently spent several years as a medical officer at the copper foundries in Romilly-sur-Seine. In 1827 he returned to Paris and received his medical doctorate.
In 1830 he began work on Traité complet de l’anatomie de l’homme comprenant la médecine operatoire., a masterpiece on human anatomy that was published in eight volumes. Bourgery worked on the atlas until his death in 1849, with the last volume being published posthumously. The finished work contained 2108 pages of folio-sized text and 726 hand-colored lithographs. The illustrative work was performed by Nicolas-Henri Jacob (1782–1871), who was a student of famed painter Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825).
The first five volumes of Traité complet de l'anatomie de l'homme dealt with descriptive anatomy; volumes six and seven covered surgical anatomy; and the last volume discussed general and philosophical anatomy. It is considered to be one of the most comprehensive and beautifully illustrated anatomical works ever published.
- Traité complet de l’anatomie de l’homme comprenant la médecine operatoire. Avec planches lithografiées d’après nature par H. Jacob. Suppléments par Duchaussoy. 8 Volumes, Paris 1832–1854, Folio
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