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Description: William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum
PublisherYale Center for British Art
Letter from William Hunter to William Cullen, 2–20 April 1765
See p. 186, cat. 8
2dApril 1765.
Dr Sir
I have felt disappointment myself; and therefore can easily imagine what you must feel, in meeting with such opposition, to a scheme, which I know to be of so much more consequence to the public, than it can be to yourself. Mine was to have founded a perpetual school for Anatomy here. I will one day or another send you a copy of my Memorial to the Ministry. In short without asking any thing for myself, but upon the contrary declaring I would have nothing, I only asked a piece of Ground to build upon, and offerd to lay out £7000 immediately on a building with every Convenience for Anatomy and obliging myself to give it to the publick the moment it was built: and said further that I meant, but would not now oblige myself, to give likewise my Preparations and books. My Library has already cost me I presume between 3 and £4,000 and my Anatomical Museum I hope ^ is of more worth to the public, because they are things that cannot be bought. I am resolved never to be much richer than I now am. I am independent and wish to do something that shall be mentioned when the few years which I have to live are gone. Now you shall see to what purpose all this. I should like to be joined with you in the end of life as in the beginning. You have been ill used at Edinr, as I have ^ been at London. Could you make a sacrifice of the few more Guineas you would receive by practice at Edinr. and join with me to raise a School for physick upon a noble plan at Glasgow. I would propose to give all my Museum & Library, and build a Theater at my own Expence: & I should ask nothing for teaching, but the Credit of doing it with Reputation. You & Black & I with those we could chuse, I think, could not fail of making our neighbours Stare. We should at once draw all the English, & I presume most of the Scotch Students. Among other reasons, I should not dislike teaching Anatomy near my two Friends the Monro’s to whom I owe so much.
I will say no more at present upon this Subject. I mean only to throw it out to you for your consideration, and shall bee glad to hear your thoughts in general upon the plan. I would not have you say any thing of it to any person, except in confidence to any sensible friend whose opinion you may chuse to take. I shall explain myself further whenever you please.
Let me only now say, before I put my name to this, neither of us have been well used and it is in our power to do ourselves immortal honor. I am as you well know, Dear Sir always
Your most obliged
William Hunter
20th April
This letter was really begun almost 3 weeks ago &c
Sale Catalogue of William Hunter’s Personal Effects, 1783
See p. 194, cat. 15
A Catalogue of Sundry Elegant Solid Gold Snuff-Boxes, of Rich Workmanship; a Fine Single-Stone Brilliant, and Other Diamond Rings; Gold Repeating, and Other Watches, One by Graham; Dresden, Brussels, and Fine Point Ruffles; Gold-Headed Canes, Swords, Fine Cameos and Intaglios; And a Number of other curious and valuable Articles, of an Eminent Physician, Lately Deceased; Which will be Sold by Auction, by Mr. Hutchins, at his Rooms in King-Street and Hart-Street, Covent-Garden, on Thursday, the 22d of May 1783
Thursday, May the 22d, 1783
Jewels, Curiosities, &c.
1 Thirteen pair of mourning ruffles, and twelve frills
2 Five pair of cambrick weepers
3 A pair of gilt shoe-buckles, a soil stone shirt buckle, a pair of paste sleeve buttons, and
4 lockets mounted in gold
4 Two pair of gold sleeve buttons
5 A mother-o’-pearl snuff-box curiously engraved, and mounted in silver
6 Four tooth-pick cases
7 A small telescope, a spying-glass, and two snuff-boxes
8 A pair of spectacles mounted in silver in a shagreen case
9 A crown, half-crown, and shilling of Oliver Cromwell
10 Various Roman imperial and consular silver denarii
11 Fifteen gold mourning rings, and a piece of fine gold
12 Two silk purses, with gold and silver ornaments
13 A gold stock-buckle
14 A set of silver shoe and knee buckles, plated with gold
15 A large enamelled historical picture
16 A fine cameo ring, oriental onyx
17 Ditto sardonyx
18 An amber snuff-box mounted in gold
19 Various shillings, six-pences, &c.
20 A spying-glass, an elegant tooth-pick case, a smelling-bottle mounted in silver, and a small hour-glass
21 Two tooth-pick cases, two snuff-boxes, a magnet, &c.
22 A silver guglet, and a plated wax stand
23 A curious box of the rare old japan
24 Three papier maché snuff-boxes, two of which are inlaid with gold
25 A round snuff box of plum-pudding stone, mounted in gold
26 Three silk purses with gold work
27 A brilliant shirt buckle
28 The conquests of King George II. in a silver box medal
29 A small gold box, and a gold locket
30 A large jasper cup, ornamented with gold and rubies
31 A strong gold-headed cane
32 A fine cane with an amber crutch-head
33 A model of a ship in gold enamelled
34 A large emerald ring
35 Another, set round with brilliants
36 A papier maché snuff-box, painted by Vernet, mounted in gold
37 A silver-mounted spying-glass, a gold-worked purse, and a Chinese shoe
38 A pair of spectacles silver-mounted, a small double reading-glass, and tortoise shell snuff-box inlaid with gold
39 A tortoise-shell snuff-box mounted in gold, and a curious reflecting object-glass
40 A set of Dacier’s medals of the Kings and Queens of England
Brussels, Point, laced and worked Ruffles, &c.
41 Three pair of worked ruffles, and frills
42 Three ditto
43 A pair of fine netting ruffles and frills, in imitation of point
44 A pair of fine lace ruffles and frills
45 Ditto
46 Ditto
47 Ditto
48 Ditto
49 A pair of fine point ruffles and frills
50 A pair of fine lace ruffles and frills
51 Ditto
52 Ditto
53 Ditto
54 Ditto
55 Ditto
56 A pair of elegant Brussels ruffles and frill
57 A piece of painted sattin for a screen
Jewels, Curiosities, &c. continued.
58 A solid gold snuff-box
59 A gold cypher seal, W. H.
60 A curious snuff-box, made of the ROYAL OAK, mounted in silver, with the circumstance of the escape of K. Charles II, engraved on the lid
61 A solid gold snuff-box
62 A silk purse, with gold and silver ornaments
63 Another with a gold runner
64 A set of blue and gold tea china
65 A curious smoking apparatus, the bowl of silver filagree, the other parts richly ornamented, from China
66 A good stop watch, horizontal, capt and jewelled, by Ireland
67 An historical subject of fine old enamel on gold
68 A Centaur enamelled on gold set with diamonds, finely executed
69 A capital single-stone brilliant ring
70 A large and curious antique head, set with diamonds
71 A large mocha agate chest, mounted with or-molu
72 Two round pictures, enamelled on gold
73 A solid gold enamelled snuff-box, which opens to receive a picture, in a shagreen case
74 Aesculapius on a sardonyx, an exceeding fine intaglio, set as a ring in gold
75 An elegant oval ivory snuff-box, mounted in gold, with a miniature on the lid, finely executed
76 Mary Queen of Scots, an exceeding fine cameo, in agate, set in gold as a ring
77 An oval tortoise-shell snuff-box, neatly mounted in gold
78 A large and fine garnet in a ring, set round with brilliants
79 A papier maché snuff-box lined with tortoise-shell, mounted in gold, with a neat landscape and figures on the lid
80 A gold repeater, capt and jewelled, by George Graham
81 A gold sword, richly chased
82 A steel sword, inlaid with gold
83 An elegant steel snuff-box, lined, mounted and inlaid with gold
84 A cluster brilliant ring
85 Ditto
86 A neat blood-stone tooth-pick case, richly mounted in gold, with a ruby stud, in a shagreen case
87 A solid gold snuff-box, enriched with beautiful and highly-finished paintings of figures, and tasteful borders and festoons of flowers in enamel; a most capital piece of workmanship
88 An intaglio in carnelian, fine set as a ring in gold
89 A snuff-box of jaspafied wood, and another of curious lava
90 Two enameled snuff-boxes, one of them with two lids
91 A round French snuff-box, with a picture of a friar in the lid, and a varnished inlaid snuff-box
92 A fine lapis lazuli snuff-box, mounted in gold
93 A crystal bottle, strongly mounted in gold
94 A fine crystal cup, supported by an Indian warrior, silver gilt
95 A fine cameo ring, set round with brilliants
96 A cluster brilliant shirt-pin
97 A gold watch-case, finely enamelled
98 Two snuff-boxes, a pair of Chinese balls, and an intaglio
99 A very large tobacco-pipe, most elaborately carved, and mounted in silver *99 A mourning ring, with an urn, set round with brilliants
100 A curious nest of 8 ivory balls, finely carved, from China
101 A neat mahogany pyramidal cabinet, with various casts of medals in plaster
102 An elegant steel sword, inlaid with gold
103 A gold sugar-basket and tongs, at per oz.
104 Six tea-spoons and strainer, at per oz.
105 An engraved gold almanack case
106 An ivory tooth-pick case, mounted in gold
107 A telescope mounted in silver, and a curiously carved ivory box
108 A rich lapis lazuli snuff-box, set in gold
109 A bull, an intaglio, on sardonyx
110 A whole length figure of Antinous, a fine cameo, set in gold
111 A mask, an intaglio, on red jasper
112 A pocket-book mounted in gold
113 A set of shoe and knee buckles, plated with gold
114 A set of stone shoe and knee buckles
115 A topaz ring, set round with brilliants
116 A patent silver microscope with a descriptive book
117 A steel sword, inlaid with gold
118 A Chinese plate-box, and a mourning sword
119 A monogram in cameo
120 A whole-length figure of Venus, an intaglio, on carnelian
121 The head of a philosopher, an intaglio, on aventurine
122 A set of heads of illustrious men, in bronze
123 A ten shilling piece of Charles I
124 An agate and pebble snuff-box mounted in silver
125 Two smelling bottles in a shagreen case, mounted in gold
126 Three small knives, mounted in gold
127 An agate tooth-pick case, elegantly mounted in gold, and a brilliant stud
128 A large carnelion seal, strongly mounted in gold, the story Hercules and the dragon
129 A pye
130 A wainscot plate chest, iron bound
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