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William Hunter (1718–1783) was a Scottish-born anatomist, surgeon and midwife who became ‘perhaps the best teacher of anatomy that ever lived’. He ran a surgical and midwifery practice in London, investigating the female reproductive system by dissecting animals. He lectured on surgery and later anatomy, which became his chief interest.
The painting shows Hunter in his role as professor of anatomy at the Royal Academy of Art, lecturing on stage with anatomical and live models, and watched by members of the Academy including Sir Joshua Reynolds (identifiable by his ear-trumpet).
oil on canvas
H 77.4 x W 103.5 cm
gift from Mrs Baillie, 1825