William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum


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Edited by Mungo Campbell and Nathan Flis; With the assistance of María Dolores Sánchez-Jáuregui


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William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum accompanies a groundbreaking exhibition organized by the Hunterian at the University of Glasgow, in collaboration with the Yale Center for British Art, to celebrate the 2018 tercentenary of The Hunterian’s founder, Dr. William Hunter (1718–1783). This publication is the first in 150 years to assess the contribution made by Hunter, the Scottish-born obstetrician, anatomist, and collector, to the development of the modern museum as a public institution.

Essays examine how Hunter gathered his collection to be used as a source of knowledge and instruction, encompassing outstanding paintings and works on paper, coins and medals, and anatomical and zoological specimens. Hunter also possessed ethnographic artifacts from Spain, the Middle East, China, and the South Pacific, and was an avid collector of medieval manuscripts and incunabula; these were all located within one of the most important “working” libraries of eighteenth-century London.

Published by the Yale Center for British Art in association with The Hunterian

Exhibition Schedule:

The Hunterian, Glasgow

Yale Center for British Art

Mungo Campbell is deputy director of The Hunterian. Nathan Flis is head of exhibitions and publications, and assistant curator of 17th-century paintings at the Yale Center for British Art.


The Hunterian, Glasgow

Yale Center for British Art

“Clear, extensive essays precede a wealth of beautiful photos and descriptions, which allow Hunter’s medical practice, book and manuscript collections, and art and other collections to emerge in the context of the social, historic, and scientific period. . . . This oversized hardcover successfully celebrates a larger-than-life man and his body of work.”—Virginia Roberts, Art Libraries Society of North America

“There is, as the exhibition and [this] scholarly catalog demonstrate, a thread running through this collection, a way of thinking associated with the Enlightenment that led William Hunter to spend decades gathering artifacts and then specifying that they be housed in a posthumous museum.”—Edward Rothstein, Wall Street Journal

Long listed for the Historians of British Art Book Prize
ISBN: 9780300236651
Publication Date: November 27, 2018
Publishing Partner: Published by the Yale Center for British Art in association with The Hunterian
440 pages, 9 1/2 x 12
275 color illus.
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