Enfilade

Exhibition | William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, lectures (to attend) by Editor on October 19, 2018

Press release (12 September 2018) for the exhibition:

William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum
The Hunterian, Glasgow, 28 September 2018 — 6 January 2019
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 14 February — 20 May 2019

Curated by Mungo Campbell with Nathan Flis and Lola Sánchez-Jáuregui

A major new exhibition at The Hunterian, University of Glasgow, will mark an important anniversary in the history of Scotland’s oldest public museum. William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum opens on 28 September 2018 and marks the William Hunter Tercentenary—300 years since the birth of Hunterian founder, Dr William Hunter (1718–1783). The exhibition not only offers a critical examination of Hunter—a man of exceptional vision who saw no boundaries between art and science, but explores his life, character, and career as well as his research, collection, and links to Glasgow.

Rhetenor blue morpho butterfly (Morpho rhetenor Cramer), 1775, Suriname (Hunterian, University of Glasgow).

Hunter’s original Enlightenment collection is a rare example which has survived largely intact and these objects and artworks are the foundation of The Hunterian collections today. William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum showcases this truly unique collection, encyclopaedic in nature and with its heart in the Scottish Enlightenment. The exhibition also offers a balanced account of the circumstances that made a collection like Hunter’s possible and examines the means by which it was amassed. Visitors will have the opportunity to see key items from Hunter’s collection, reunited for the first time in over 150 years and displayed to highlight the connections between them.

More than 400 items will be on display including: fossils; anatomical specimens and preparations; paintings, drawings and prints; rare books and manuscripts; ethnographical objects; rocks and mineral specimens; coins and medals; shells, corals, beetles, butterflies and examples of taxidermy. The majority come from The Hunterian, and Archives and Special Collections at the University of Glasgow Library, where Hunter’s collection of books and manuscripts is kept.

Key loans include a life size écorché figure from the Royal Academy of Arts in London and Johan Zoffany’s painting William Hunter Lecturing that shows William Hunter delivering an anatomy class, on loan from the Royal College of Physicians in London.

Important conservation work has been carried out on a number of items from Hunter’s collection including paintings, frames, sculptures, textiles, books, works on paper and objects of decorative art.

Ferdinand Verbiest, Kunyu Quantu 坤輿全圖 (A Map of the Whole World),1674, woodblock print on paper laid down on cloth, in four parts (Hunterian, University of Glasgow).

Must see items include:
• Four of Hunter’s plaster cast models, now fully restored, which were used in preparation for his great publication Anatomia Uteri Humani Gravidi Tabulis Illustrate (Anatomy of the Gravid Uterus Exhibited in Figures, 1774). A selection of related drawings, prints, and proofs are included, many of which have not been on display before. The casts show the various stages of the pregnant human womb in progressive states of dissection in graphic and stunning naturalistic detail.
• Our unique 17th-century Chinese map of the world, displayed in its entirety for the first time.
• Hunter’s complete collection of 88 gold Roman coins, issued by every Roman Emperor from 27BCE to 491CE. The Hunterian is one of only three places in the world where such a complete series can be seen.
• Hunter’s will — on loan from the National Archives of Scotland and on public display for the first time.
• The life-size écorché figure on loan from the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
• An exceptional and fully restored 18th-century Maori cloak from New Zealand made of flax and feathers.
• The Hunterian Psalter — usually housed in Archives and Special Collections at the University of Glasgow Library, this lavishly illuminated bound English manuscript is dated to 1170 and is considered the greatest treasure of William Hunter’s library.

William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum also reveals the contribution made by Hunter to the development of modern museums as we know them today, exploring the interplay between the arts and sciences in the pursuit of knowledge over the course of the 18th century.

Jean-Siméon Chardin, A Lady Taking Tea, 1735, oil on canvas (Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow).

The exhibition and publication William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum are the result of a five-year collaborative research project between The Hunterian and the Yale Center for British Art and showcase new research undertaken by an international team of scholars. The lead curator is Mungo Campbell, Deputy Director of The Hunterian; and the organizing curator at the Yale Center for British Art is Nathan Flis, Head of Exhibitions and Publications, and Assistant Curator of Seventeenth-Century Paintings. They are assisted by Lola Sanchez-Jauregui, William Hunter Tercentenary Curator at The Hunterian. A fully illustrated exhibition catalogue will be published by The Hunterian and the Center in association with Yale University Press.

Running in parallel with William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum are two exhibitions offering 21st-century responses to Hunter’s collections, life, and work. Strange Foreign Bodies and Rosengarten showcase the work of leading contemporary artists and writers including Claire Barclay, Christine Borland, Anne Bevan, and Janice Galloway.

Strange Foreign Bodies is a group exhibition of films, prints, and sculptural works by artists including Claire Barclay, Christine Borland, Sarah Browne, Alex Impey, and Phillip Warnell. Taking William Hunter’s Tercentenary as its point of departure, the exhibition offers a 21st-century perspective on Hunter’s Enlightenment project, with processes of mutation, metamorphosis, and technological transformation central to many of the works. We encounter the story of a woman who has turned into an octopus, the philosophical reflections of a heart transplant patient, and the simulated breathing of an animatronic medical mannequin. These ‘strange foreign bodies’ reflect the complexity of all human embodiment today.

Rosengarten is a unique installation that brings together the sculpture of Anne Bevan and the words of Janice Galloway, two of Scotland’s foremost artists in their fields. Inspired by obstetric implements and important historic medical collections, Rosengarten looks at the tools of birthing and powerfully reflects the human and tender emotions of mother and baby that run parallel to the hard and frequently interventive experiences associated with modern childbirth.

William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum is at the Hunterian Art Gallery from 28 September 2018 until 6 January 2019 then at the Yale Center for British Art (Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA) from 14 February until 20 May 2019. The project has been generously supported by The Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, Museums Galleries Scotland, and the Rev. Dr Donald McKellar Leitch Urie Bequest. Strange Foreign Bodies, also at the Hunterian Art Gallery, runs from 28 September 2018 until 13 January 2019. Rosengarten is now open at the Hunterian Art Gallery and runs until 20 January 2019. Purchased with funds from the National Collecting Scheme for Scotland and a grant from the Art Fund. Admission to all three exhibitions is free.

S E L E C T E D  P R O G R A M M I N G

3 October 2018 — Mungo Campbell (The Hunterian), William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum: Curator’s Introduction

10 October 2018 — Christine Whyte (Lecturer in Global History, University of Glasgow), A Triangular Trade of Medical Knowledge: William Hunter, Enslaved Women, and Scottish Medical Expertise

William Hunter and Assistants, Anatomical Specimens: Arteries of the Intestine, 1746–83, portion of human gut with mesentery, turpentine and glass jar; portion of human gut and glass jar; portion of human gut with mesentery, turpentine and glass jar (Hunterian, University of Glasgow).

17 October 2018 — Paul Rea (Senior Lecturer in Human Life Sciences, University of Glasgow), Anatomy in the Digital Age

24 October 2018 — Dominic Paterson (The Hunterian), Strange Foreign Bodies

31 October 2018 — Jeanne Robinson (The Hunterian), ‘Mr Termite’: An Agent of Entomology and the Empire in 18th-Century Sierra Leone

7 November 2018 — Alicia Hughes (University of Glasgow), Title to be confirmed

14 November 2018  — Anne Dulau Beveridge (The Hunterian), The Curious Collector: What William Hunter’s Portraits Tell Us about the Man

21 November 2018 — Maggie Reilly (The Hunterian), Title to be confirmed

28 November 2018 — Michelle Craig (Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholar, University of Glasgow), The Curious Collector: Provenance in William Hunter’s Library

5 December 2018 — Matthew Sangster (Lecturer in 18th-Century Literature and Material Culture, University of Glasgow), Conceptions of Knowledge in William Hunter’s Library

12 December 2018 — Jesper Ericsson (The Hunterian), Title to be confirmed

19 December 2018 — Frances Osis (University of Glasgow), Title to be confirmed

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

The catalogue is published by the Yale Center for British Art:

Edited by Mungo Campbell and Nathan Flis, with the assistance of María Dolores Sánchez-Jáuregui, William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum (New Haven: Yale Center for British Art in association with The Hunterian, 2018), 440 pages, ISBN: 978-0300236651, $65.

Accompanying a groundbreaking exhibition, 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.

C O N T E N T S

Amy Meyers and Steph Scholten, Directors’ Foreword
Mungo Campbell and Nathan Flis, Acknowledgments
Contributors’ Biographies
Seren Nolan, William Hunter: A Chronology

Part I  Physician, Anatomist, Collector
• Mungo Campbell, William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum: An Introduction
• Nathan Flis, Skeletons in Hunter’s Closet: James Douglas and the Fashioning of William Hunter
• Craig Ashley Hanson, A Motto for a Museum: William Hunter’s Inheritance from Richard Mead
• Matthew Sangster, Conceptions of Knowledge in William Hunter’s Library
• Meredith Gamer, Scalpel to Burin: A Material History of William Hunter’s Anatomy of the Human Gravid Uterus
• Dominik Hünniger, ‘Extolled by Foreigners’: William Hunter’s Collection and the Development of Science and Medicine in Eighteenth-Century Europe
• Nicholas Thomas, ‘A Great Collection of Curiosities from the South Sea Islands’: William Hunter’s Ethnography
• María Dolores Sánchez-Jáuregui, Anatomical Jars and Butterflies: Curating Knowledge in William Hunter’s Museum

Part II  Catalogue of the Exhibition
• Mungo Campbell, Portraits and Papers
• Mungo Campbell, Pedagogy and Professional Practice
• Peter Black, Anatomical Illustration and the Practice of Anatomy
• Maggie Reilly and Stuart McDonald, Anatomical Preparations
• Mungo Campbell, The Anatomy of the Human Gravid Uterus
• Peter Black and Anne Dulau Beveridge, Pictures
• Michelle Craig, The Library
• Donal Bateson, Coins and Medals
• Mungo Campbell, Pacific and Other ‘Curiosities’
• Maggie Reilly and Jeanne Robinson, Shells, Corals, Birds, Insects, and Other Preserved Animals
• John Faithfull and Neil Clark, Ores and Fossils

Appendices
1  Letter from William Hunter to William Cullen, 2–20 April 1765
2  Sale Catalogue of William Hunter’s Personal Effects, 1783

Selected Bibliography
Index
Photography Credits

 

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