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Tuesday to Saturday: 10am – 5pm

Oil painting depicting a fictional examination scene incorporating portraits of several senior members of the Court of Examiners from the late 1800s. Three viva voce interviews are taking place in the room: in each, a young candidate sits at a table covered in anatomical and pathological specimens, and is being quizzed by a pair of examiners. In the background on the left of the painting the examiners are Edward Lund (1823-1898) and Sir William MacCormac (1825-1901): Lund is writing notes while MacCormac sits with his left hand on his ear as the candidate studies the pot in front of him. In the centre and foreground of the painting a second candidate is being examined by John Wood (1825-1891) and Sir Jonathan Hutchinson (1828-1913). The candidate - a young man with short dark hair and a dark moustache - is holding a specimen up to the light and regarding it quizzically. Wood, seated behind the table and positioned in the centre of the scene, is leaning forward with his head resting on his right hand and his elbow on the table: he is staring at the candidate intently, but his face and his posture convey a sense of weariness and exasperation. To Wood's left (and the viewer's right) Hutchinson is sitting back and regarding the candidate more dispassionately. Behind Wood and Hutchinson, in the background on the right of the painting, John Marshall (1818-1891) and Frederick Le Gros Clark (1811-1892) are examining a third candidate. On the wall of the room behind this scene is a central fireplace, above which the lower part of the portrait of John Hunter is visible. To the left, part of the portrait of Anthony Carlisle can be seen, while to the right the lower portion of the portrait of Astley Cooper is visible.

The Viva. An examination of trainee surgeons at the Royal College of Surgeons of England by Henry Jamyn Brooks, 1894

All exhibitions and events

  • The Hunterian Museum

    The Hunterian Museum, named after the 18th century surgeon and anatomist John Hunter (1728-1793), reopened at the Royal College of Surgeons of England’s headquarters at Lincoln’s Inn Fields in central London in May 2023.


    From 16th May 2023