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.

This is the only one of the Hall's roundel portraits where the subject is depicted as front-facing, rather than in profile. Moreover, the depiction of Hippocrates offered in this piece shows considerable similarities with the College's two identical busts of Hippocrates. Alongside these pieces Ritchie's statue of Hippocrates can be seen on the front of the College building.

Hippocrates (c.460 – 370 B.C.E)

Hippocrates was a Greek physician and the originator of what is now called Hippocratic medicine. He is strongly associated with the Corpus Hippocraticum, a collection of writings which date approximately from the fifth to the third century B.C.E.. Whilst the authorship of this work was traditionally attributed to Hippocrates this is now a matter of scholarly debate, as the authorship appears to have changed over the period of its composition. The collection is significant because it established medicine as a practice separate from philosophy and religion.  Also set out in this corpus was the theory of the four humours. Furthermore, laid out in the introduction is the Hippocratic Oath which formed the basis of the ethical model to be followed by medical professionals.

The first recorded books in the college’s library were donated by Sir Robert Sibbald in the late seventeenth century and amongst these works was ‘Hippocrates in Greek’.