Joseph Banks and William Hunter: where the Royal Society meets the Royal Academy

McCormack, H. (2019) Joseph Banks and William Hunter: where the Royal Society meets the Royal Academy. Journal for Maritime Research, 21(1-2), pp. 119-142. (doi: 10.1080/21533369.2020.1763634)

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During the second half of the eighteenth century London emerged as the centre of a growing scientific community, motivated and stimulated by an expanding empire. Within this closely connected metropolitan network, the figures of Sir Joseph Banks (1743–1820) and Dr William Hunter (1718–1783) exemplify the model of gentlemanly naturalist, each dynamically engaged in the pursuit of their interrelated interests in human and comparative anatomy, zoology and botany. Sir Joseph Banks's mansion at Soho Squre was a short stroll from William Hunter's Anatomy School at 16 Great Windmill Street and these homes of the President of the Royal Society and first Professor of Anatomy at the Royal Academy of Arts, respectively, acted as centres to the periphery, combining the accummulated knowledge of both institutions behind the domestic façade of their private homes. Both individuals commissioned a number of artists, combining the visual skills of the artist with the authentic expertise of the anatomist and naturalist. This paper describes these complementary approaches of Sir Joseph Banks and William Hunter, suggesting that while they each shared similar goals for the production of natural knowledge, these may have been motivated by quite different ideas on the purpose of their public roles.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McCormack, Dr Helen
Authors: McCormack, H.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > History of Art
Journal Name:Journal for Maritime Research
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1469-1957
Published Online:09 June 2020

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