Wellcome Trust

William Hunter’s Library: the Gs

One name dominates Hunter’s library catalogue in the ‘G’ section of William Hunter’s library: Galen.

Galen (129-c. 210) was a Greek philosopher-physician who summarised anatomical learning up to his time and added his own observations on human anatomy based on dissections of monkeys and pigs. Galen was influenced by the theory of the humours advocated by Hippocrates and other ancient Greek physicians.

William Hunter’s Library: the Fs

The 268 entries that are listed in Museum Records 3 again demonstrate the variety of books that William Hunter collected. As in other sections of his catalogue, we find that Hunter’s interests in anatomy and medicine are well represented. Another theme that emerges in this section is travel and exploration.

William Hunter’s Library: the Es

One of Hunter’s copies of Euclid’s Elements of Geometry was published in Venice in 1482 and features woodcut diagrams that illustrate mathematical equations. This was one of the 192 incunabula that Hunter purchased via his Paris agent at the sale of the library of Louis-Jean Gaignat, the late Receiver-General of Pleas at the Palace of Justice in Paris in 1769. Gaignat had died the previous year leaving a library of over 5,000 items. In addition to the 192 incunabula, Hunter bought eleven illuminated manuscripts and an assortment of other books. Euclides: Elementa geometriae. Venice: Erhard Ratdolt, 25 May 1482 is now Sp Coll Hunterian By.2.12.