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Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

William Hunter (1718-1783), Anatomist and physician; obstetrician and physician to Queen Charlotte

In 1768 Hunter wrote that he was ‘pretty much acquainted with most of our best artists and live in friendship with them’.

c.1764
Painting by Allan Ramsay, three-quarter length seated. Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow (A. Smart, ed. J. Ingamells, Allan Ramsay, a complete catalogue of his Paintings, 1999, no.283). A copy and a bust-length oval miniature version (possibly by Nathaniel Hone, see below) are with the Royal College of Physicians, London (illus. Cat. of Portraits, 1977, p 135). Ramsay’s preparatory drawing is in the National Gallery of Scotland (D 2017; A. Smart, ed. J. Ingamells, Allan Ramsay, a complete catalogue of his Paintings, 1999, fig.728).

1765
Miniature by Nathaniel Hone, bust-length oval. Christie’s, 23 June 1958, lot 70. Resembles the Ramsay portrait of c.1764. Presumably the miniature exhibited Society of Artists, London, 1765 (55).

1769
Painting by Mason Chamberlin, half-length. Royal Academy, London, presented by the artist (illus. M. Kemp ed., Dr William Hunter at the Royal Academy of Arts, 1975, pl.7). Engraved as half length J. Collyer 1783; B. Smith from a drawing by M. Haughton, 1817. Exhibited Second special exhibition of National Portraits (William and Mary to MDCCC), South Kensington, 1867 (829). The head closely resembles that by Zoffany in Hunter lecturing at the Royal Academy. Half-length oval miniature copy, ascribed to G. M. Moser, Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow.

c.1770
Painting by R. E. Pine, seated at table. Royal College of Surgeons, London (illus. W. LeFanu, A Catalogue of the Portraits and other paintings drawings and Sculpture in the Royal College of Surgeons of England, 1960, pl.18). Engraved J. Thomson 1838.

c.1771
Drawing attributed to Charles Grignion jr., bust-length profile, wearing spectacles. Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow (illus. M. Kemp ed., Dr William Hunter at the Royal Academy of Arts, 1975, pl.5). Probably drawn as Zoffany was making sketches for his Academicians of 1772 (see also NPG 4314).

1772
Painting by Johann Zoffany, The Academicians of the Royal Academy, see NPG 1437.

c.1772
Painting by Johann Zoffany, Dr William Hunter lecturing at the Royal Academy. Royal College of Physicians, London (illus. Cat. of Portraits, 1964, p 233).

1774
Medal by Edward Burch, see NPG 6012.

1777-84
Painting by James Barry, Distribution of Premiums in the Society of Arts, part of the Progress of Human Culture, in which Hunter appears lower right. Royal Society of Arts, London (detail illus. M. Kemp ed., Dr William Hunter at the Royal Academy of Arts, 1975, pl.10). Engraved J. Barry 1791.

1780
Drawn and engraved by J. Thornthwaite, oval half-length seated. Re-issued 1812.

c.1780
Miniature attributed to Richard Crosse, half-length oval. Royal College of Physicians, London (illus. Cat. of Portraits, 1964, p 235).

Painting attributed to James Barry, half length. Royal College of Physicians, London (illus. Cat. of Portraits, 1977, p 137; W. L. Pressly, The Life and Art of James Barry, 1981, p 109). The body is evidently by an inferior hand, but the head relates directly to that of Hunter in the Distribution of Premiums (see 1777-84).

1783
Medal by Thomas Pingo (L. Brown, A Catalogue of British Historical Medals 1760-1960: The Accession of George III to the Death of William IV, 1980, no.224; illus. C. Eimer, The Pingo Family & Medal Making in 18th-century Britain, 1998, no.63). Engraved W. Read; W. Angus from a drawing by Millar, inscribed ‘from a model in the possession of Mr Pingo of the Tower’ (European Mag.; illus. L. Jordanova, Defining Features, NPG, 2000, p 24).

Posthumous
1783
Death Mask. Hunterian Museum, Glasgow (illus. British Medical Journal, CCIXC, 1985, p 1787).

1785
Gemstone[?] by William Brown, exhibited RA 1785 (362).

Miniature by John Bogle, exhibited RA 1785 (281).

1787
Painting by Joshua Reynolds standing three-quarter length to left. Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow (D. Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds, I, 2000, no.976). Engraved S. Freeman 1855; J. Smith. A posthumous portrait largely derived, according to contemporary description, from the portraits by Zoffany and Mason Chamberlin and from Hunter’s death mask (W. T. Whitley, Artists and their Friends in England 1700-1799, 1928, II, p 83). Two copies belong to the Royal College of Surgeons, London, and another to the Royal Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow (formerly attributed to Pine); a small copy by J. G. Gilbert is in Glasgow Art Gallery (553).

Doubtful Portraits
Silhouette, seated writing (Royal College of Surgeons, London) engraved c.1834; drawing by Elias Martin, A Lecture on Anatomy (Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, 61/1909);

A painting by Cosmo Alexander (Newport Historical Society, RI; illus. Art Quarterly, XXVI, 1963, p 321) shows another William Hunter.



This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.