The principles of surgery represent Bell's anatomical writings geared to the needs of surgeons. It provides a summation of the surgery of the period, and contains a wealth of clinical description and commentary. It is, furthermore, remarkable for its illustrations (some in colour), which display Bell's artistic talents. The plates, some of which were drawn by Bell's younger brother Charles, were engraved by several arists, including J. Grant, D. Lizars, W. Archibald, E. Mitchell, and by Bell himself. Several of the illustrations relate to vascular surgery, of which Bell was a pioneer, being the first to ligate the superior gluteal artery, and to tie the common carotid and internal iliac.