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The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow 2017
Death Mask of William Hunter (1718-1783)
Anatomist and obstetrician, born Long Calderwood, East Kilbride, May 23rd 1718. Hunter came to Glasgow University at the age of fourteen. He decided to enter the medical profession and from 1737 to 1740 was the resident pupil of the renowned physician William Cullen whom he described as “a man to whom I owe most, and love most of all men in the world”. He moved to London in 1741 where he was a student at St. George’s Hospital. In 1748 he was elected surgeon-accoucheur to the Middlesex and the following year to the British Lying-in Hospital. He was awarded the degree of M.D. from Glasgow University in 1750. Hunter was appointed Physician Extraordinary to Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, in 1764. In 1767 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and in 1768 became the first Professor of Anatomy to the Royal Academy. He was also a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.
Hunter bought a plot of land in Great Windmill Street, London, on which he built a house, with a lecture-theatre, dissecting room, and a museum. To his large collection of anatomical and pathological specimens he added coins and medals, minerals, shells, corals, paintings, and a library of rare and valuable books.
Hunter died on 30th March 1783 and was buried at St. James’s, Piccadilly. He never married. His collection of coins and medals, together with the rest of his extensive collections was bequeathed to Glasgow University. The Hunterian Museum, opened in 1807, is Scotland’s oldest public museum.
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