Despite William Hunter's stature as one of the most important collectors and men of science of the eighteenth century, and the fact that his collection is the foundation of Scotland's oldest public museum, The Hunterian, until now there has been no comprehensive examination in a single volume of all his collections in their diversity. This volume restores Hunter to a rightful position of prominence among the medical men whose research and amassing of specimens transformed our understanding of the natural world and man's position within it. This volume comprises essays by international specialists and are as diverse as Hunter's collections themselves, dealing as they do with material that ranges from medical and scientific specimens, to painting, prints, books and manuscripts. The first sections focus upon Hunter's own collection and his response to it, while the final section contextualises Hunter within the wider sphere. A special feature of the volume is the inclusion of references to the Hunterian's web pages and on-line databases. These enable searches for items from Hunter's collections, both from his museum and library. Locating Hunter's collecting within the broader context of his age and environment, this book provides an original approach to a man and collection whose importance has yet to be comprehensively assessed.
Table of Contents
Contents: Foreword, David Gaimster; Introduction, Mungo Campbell. Part I William Hunter: Developing his Museum: The Great Windmill Street Anatomy School and Museum, Helen McCormack; Anatomy and the ’museum oeconomy’: William and John Hunter as collectors, Simon Chaplin. Part II William Hunter: Anatomy in Practice: William Hunter’s sources of pathological and anatomical specimens, with particular reference to obstetric subjects, Stuart W. McDonald and John W. Faithfull; ’An universal language’: William Hunter and the production of The Anatomy of the Human Gravid Uterus, Caroline Grigson; The anatomist and the artists: Hunter’s involvement, Anne Dulau Beveridge; William Hunter’s anatomical and pathological specimens, Stuart W. McDonald. Part III William Hunter: Collector: Animal specimens in William Hunter’s anatomical collection, Stuart W. McDonald and Margaret Reilly; William Hunter’s zoological collections, Margaret Reilly; The shaping role of Johann Christian Fabricius: William Hunter’s insect collection and entomology in 18th-century London, E. Geoffrey Hancock; Dr John Fothergill: significant donor, Starr Douglas; The mineral collection of William Hunter: assembly and function, John W. Faithfull; A collection without a catalogue: Captain John Laskey and the missing vertebrate fossils from the collection of William Hunter, Jeff Liston; Archaeological objects in William Hunter’s collection, Sally-Anne Coupar; William Hunter’s parade shield: a memento of Leonardo’s Milan?, Martin Kemp; Ethnographic treasures in the Hunterian from Cook’s voyages, Adrienne L. Kaeppler; ’At last in Dr Hunter’s library’: William Hunter’s Chinese collections, Nick Pearce; William Hunter’s numismatic books, Donal Bateson; The ’Hunterian orchard’: William Hunter’s library, David Weston. Part IV William Hunter: The Wider World: On the way to the museum: Frederich The Great’s Bildergalerie in the park of Sanssouci in the context of other paint
'The essays in William Hunter's World firmly establish their subject in the circle of outstanding figures of late Enlightenment society. In this volume, for the first time, physical evidence for the wide range of Hunter's scholarship is examined in depth through the holdings of his museum and library, to provide a remarkable compendium of his achievements and to signpost potential lines of research that will continue to consolidate the reputation of this major figure of the later eighteenth century.' Arthur Macgregor, Editor, Journal of the History of Collections
'The essays that comprise William Hunter's World: The Art and Science of Eighteenth-Century Collecting do justice to the remarkable subject of this important publication, both in their wide intellectual compass, and in their international scope. As the first in-depth examination of the massive collections amassed by Hunter as an Enlightenment physician and experimental naturalist whose curiosity coursed the whole of the natural world, as well as the global sweep of human culture, this volume leaves no doubt that he was one of the great modern thinkers of his age. The essayists demonstrate Hunter’s signal contributions to the transformation of a broad spectrum of fields, from obstetrics and human anatomy, to ethnography and zoology, while promoting the professional practice of the visual arts, both as a collector and patron, and as the first professor of anatomy at the Royal Academy. Most importantly, the authors point to the value of Hunter’s magnificent collections as an essential means by which to gain an understanding of his drive and accomplishments, opening new lines of investigation to be pursued in the holdings of the University of Glasgow, which constitute Hunter’s great legacy.' Amy Meyers, Director, Yale Center for British Art, USA