Bell received his education at the University of Edinburgh, before studying anatomy and surgery at his brother John's extramural school, assisting him in dissection classes. In 1802 he moved to London, joining the staff of the Middlesex Hospital. He taught anatomy to medical students and artists, and in 1809 became a partner at the school established by William Hunter. Following an appointment as Professor of Anatomy at the newly established University of London, Bell returned to Edinburgh in 1836 to assume the Chair in Surgery at the University. He was knighted in 1831 in recognition of his scientific achievements. Bell's first venture as an author, A system of dissections, was made while still a student. Issued in seven parts between 1798 and 1803, it includes over thirty plates drawn by Bell, and engraved by J. Grant, R. Scott, I Bengo, and D. Lizars. During his stay in London, Bell published several works, illustrated mostly by himself. In 1806 Essays on the anatomy of the expressions in painting appeared. It was used by Fuseli and Flaxman, and also by Charles Darwin. This was followed in 1807 and 1809 with the two-volume A system of operative surgery, the success of which brought him fame. In 1811 he privately published A new idea of the anatomy of the brain, in an edition of one hundred copies which he distributed to friends. In this work of thirty-two pages, Bell suggested that individual nerve elements act independently, and carried specific information to and from the central nervous system. 'Bell-Magendie's law' recognised the ventral (anterior) roots of the spinal nerves as motor, the dorsal (posterior) roots as sensory.