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.

There are two plaster busts of Gregory in the College’s collection, one of which was made by the sculptor Samuel Joseph.

James Gregory (1753 – 1821)

Gregory followed his father into the medical profession and the University of Edinburgh where he became a popular lecturer. Moreover patients and medical practitioners throughout Europe sought his medical advice. Gregory had a successful career and was appointed first physician to the king in Scotland in 1799. He was also a fellow of the RCPE and became president of the college in 1798.

However, Gregory was also known for his involvement in a number of feuds with both individuals and institutions. This included an argument in 1804 when Gregory published the proceedings of the college, an action against his oath. Consequently, and because he refused to apologise, he was suspended from the privileges of the fellowship of the college.