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’.

Each of the figures in the roundel portraits is surrounded by a laurel wreath which is both an aesthetic, decorative feature, and a classically-founded symbol which emphasises the importance of the figures depicted in the portraits. Monro is depicted with soft facial features and particular attention has been paid to the portrayal of his wig.

A bust of Monro can also be seen in the Great Hall.

Alexander Monro primus (1697-1767)

Alexander Monro primus was appointed Professor of Anatomy by Edinburgh’s town council in 1719 and he became an immensely popular lecturer. In 1729 Monro established the Hospital for the Sick Poor which provided medical care and the opportunity for Edinburgh’s medical students to obtain a clinical training. In 1736 the establishment was chartered as the Royal Infirmary by George II.

Monro’s major work was The Anatomy of the Humane Bones, a commentary on his anatomical demonstrations. This popular work was translated into French (1759) as well as going through eight editions during Monro’s lifetime and three after his death.