Odds and quads

John Hunter (1728-93) has been called the "father of modern surgery", since he was the first to apply a truly scientific methodology to the medical procedure.

December 8, 2011

He spent much of his career at what is now St George's, University of London - though he was later appointed surgeon to George III and eventually Surgeon General.

Shown here are his shaving mirror (with a copy of Henry Richard Hope-Pinker's statue of Hunter reflected in it), a selection of his many books and a John Hunter Medal, given out since 1813 to the presenters of the Hunterian Society Oration. The couch on which he is said to have died of a heart attack is also owned by St George's.

Among Hunter's prominent students was the physician Edward Jenner (1749-1823), who played a major role in the eradication of smallpox by infecting a young boy with increasing doses of cowpox "vaccine" taken from an infected cow called Blossom. Her hide was later donated to St George's and usually hangs prominently in the library (although it is currently being restored).

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to: matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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