Special Collections items currently on exhibition

Special Collections items currently on exhibition


In the showcase of the foyer of Special Collections on level 12 of the University of Glasgow Library

October 2018 - January 2019

Spotlight on a Salesroom

This display continues the focus on William Hunter (1718-1783) and his library in this tercentenary year of his birth.

The years 1754-55 provide important milestones in tracing Hunter’s (1718 – 1783) collecting  practice. During these years, he made several significant purchases from the sales of the renowned physician, Dr Richard Mead (1673 – 1754). Sold off in London in a series of auctions, both the reputation and the encyclopaedic scope of Mead’s collections ensured dispersal to distinguished collectors in London and beyond.

Hunter bought books, drawings and paintings from the Mead sales, although neither the full extent of his purchases nor how much he spent is yet clear. Current research into Hunter’s books and drawings is shedding light into the connections between Mead and Hunter’s collections, and the development of Hunter’s own publishing and image-making practices.

As well as buying directly at the Mead sales in the 1750s, Hunter acquired many Mead books from later auctions. These  indirect acquisitions from Mead are easy to identify because of their distinctive shelfmark: usually placed on a flyleaf, they indicated the location of a book within Mead’s library.

Hunter’s collection of drawings by the anatomist-artist William Cowper (1666-1710) featured in the Mead sale. Before his death, Cowper entrusted the drawings for the second edition of his book, Myotomia Reformata, to Mead who ensured that the atlas was published in 1724. Cowper’s anatomical, image-making and editorial practices can be clearly seen in the collection of drawings and were undoubtedly of interest to Hunter. He acquired these drawings after completing the first phase of work on his grand atlas The Anatomy of the Human Gravid Uterus exhibited in figures (1774).

Exhibition curated by Michelle Craig and Alicia Hughes, Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Researchers

On display in the Hunterian Art Gallery

William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum

28 September 2018 - 6 January 2019

Rare books and manuscripts from William Hunter's Library, including the Hunterian Psalter are on display as part of this major exhibition marking 300 years since the birth of Dr William Hunter (1718-1783), the Hunterian's founder.

External Exhibitions

William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum will be shown at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut from 14 February to 20 May 2019.