In 1865 the Great Hall was enlarged by the architect David Bryce, who ordered the roundel portraits from George MacCallum. MacCallum was paid four pounds per profile, a total of £60 for the set of 15 ‘Heads with wreaths’.

The portraits appear along the frieze in the Great Hall. Each of the figures in the roundel portraits is surrounded by a laurel wreath which is both an aesthetic, decorative feature, and a classical symbol which emphasises the importance of the figure depicted in the portrait.

An interesting point in this portrait is the depiction of Avicenna's headdress which differs from the turban which he is traditionally depicted wearing.

Avicenna (980 – 1037)

Avicenna was the first Islamic thinker to synthesise Islamic traditions with the philosophy of Aristotle and Plato. His significant medical work was the five-volume al-Qanun fi al-tibb (Canon of Medicine). Translated into Latin in the twelfth century by Gerard of Cremona, this work was one of the most influential texts in Islamic and European worlds for the next millennium.

In contrast to Hippocrates, Avicenna saw medicine as a science, rather than an art. The first book demonstrates Avicenna’s knowledge of classical sources, such as Aristotle and Galen, alongside his knowledge of Islamic physicians whose work he used to improve Aristotle’s theories. Book five contains some of Avicenna’s original contributions to medical thinking, including the discussion on the antiseptic properties of alcohol as well as his general rules for experimenting with medical drugs.

By the seventeenth century the medical importance of the Canon began to diminish due to the increasing use of dissection and scientific/medical advances. Nevertheless it remains a key text in medical history.