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William Hunter (1718-1783) in his museum in Windmill Street on the day of resurrection, surrounded by skeletons and bodies, some of whom are searching for their missing parts. Engraving, 1782.

Date
8 February 1782
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About this work

Description

In 1768, the anatomist, surgeon and obstetrician William Hunter moved to the house he had built in Windmill Street, London. This included a lecture theatre, dissecting room and a museum, which featured his collection of anatomical preparations. These were used in the anatomy school which he had run in London since 1746. This anonymous caricature, published a year before Hunter's death in 1783, shows his museum on the day of resurrection, when all men will rise again, in their whole bodily form, to be judged. This has been the cause of the breakage of the jars of preserved body parts, which Hunter is bemoaning. He stands clothed and wigged at the centre of the print while on either side figures demand the return of their missing parts, one his head and the other her virgin womb. On the left, two one-legged men dispute the ownership of a lower leg while the man on the far left despairs at the prospect of the resurrection of his wife. On Hunter's right, a male and female skeleton cordially greet each other, while the figure on the right is in search of his missing stomach. In the background, a hunchbacked figure is ringing a bell to call the souls back to life, and in the distance, two figures embrace each other. Two winged devils prance along the two-storied colonnade in anticipation of those souls who will be damned. In 1763, Hunter fell into dispute with his brother, John, over the ownership of the preparations which John had made while in William's employ (Brock, ed. 1983, p. 45). Eventually the two brothers fell out altogether and William bequeathed his entire collection and library to Glasgow University, where it remains today. John Hunter's own collection of anatomical preparations survives in his museum in the Royal College of Surgeons, London

Publication/Creation

London (No. 18 New Bond Street) : H. Humphrey, 8 February 1782.

Physical description

1 print : engraving ; platemark 18.8 x 31.2 cm

Lettering

The resurrection or an internal view of the museum in W-dm-ll Street on the last day.

Publications note

M. D. George, Catalogue of political and personal satires preserved in the department of prints and drawings in the British Museum, v, London 1935, no. 6127
C. H. Brock, ed., William Hunter 1718-1783. A Memoir by Samuel Foart Simmons and John Hunter, East Kilbride 1983, pl. xiii
Peter Black (ed.), "My highest pleasures": William Hunter's art collection, London 2007, pp. 110, 155-156

Reference

Wellcome Library no. 25435i

Lettering note

Speech bubbles: My wife risen again! that's one rib more than I wish'd to find ; What this! arrah be easy my dear devil burn me if it be not my own I know it by the lump on the shin here ; Damn me Sir that's my legg ; Where's my head ; O what a smash among my bottles and preprarations! never did I suppose that such a day could come ; Dr. Hunter ; Restore to me my Virgin-honor did I keep it inviolated 75 years to have it corked up at last ; Prodigiously oblig'd to you sweet Sir ; My dear Madam I hope you are well I am over-joyd to see you ; Lack-a-day! did nobody see an odd large stomach O what shall I do if I have lost my stomach

Type/Technique

Languages

  • English


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