William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum Mungo Campbell, Nathan Flis, María Dolores Sánchez-Jáuregui

Publication date:
16 Oct 2018
YC British Art
440 pages: 305 x 241mm
275 color illus.
Sales territories:

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.

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.

“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

“Hunter’s book, the subject of an essay by Mungo Campbell, is one of the most remarkable and also most beautiful medical publications of its time.” —Duncan Macmillan, The Art Newspaper

Long listed for the Historians of British Art Book Prize