William Cullen

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Portrait of: William Cullen
By: Valentine Green
After: William Cochrane
Date: 1772
Style: Mezzotint
Dimensions: 27. 8 x 36. 7 cm

William Cullen (1710-1790) was a distinguished medical practitioner and lecturer born in Hamilton, Lanarkshire. He was educated at Glasgow Universityand spent time at the University of Edinburgh where he became a founding member of the Royal Medical Society in 1734. He taught at Glasgow and Edinburgh universitiesand gave clinical lectures at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Cullen was a popular and natural teacher devoted to demonstrating medicine and chemistry to hisstudents. One famous Scottish practitioner included in Cullen’s list of students was William Hunter.

Edinburgh was a prestigious centre for medicine in this period. The RoyalCollege of Surgeons of Edinburgh, the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, along with the University, and Royal Infirmary, made Edinburgh a highly desirableplace for medical experts to practise, teach, and study. This meant that competitionwas incredibly fierce and the standard was extremely high. Cullen and his studentHunter had a plan to make Glasgow a competitor to Edinburgh’s excellentmedical facilities, but this never came into fruition.

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