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.

Whilst this piece only shows Galen in profile, there are some similarities between this portrait and the bust of Galen which is also held in the College’s collection.

Galen (ca. 129 -199)

Galen was a Greek physician whose influence on medical thinking prevailed for 1,500 years until well after the Renaissance when many of his theories were discarded. Galen is particularly famous for his theory of the four humours and insistence that organisms should be understood as unified bodies with interdependent parts.