Sunday 30 October 2016

Bust of William Harvey - Scheemakers - Royal College of Physicians

A Marble Bust of William Harvey (1578 - 1657) 
Peter Scheemakers.
 at the Royal College of Physicians.
Regents Park, London.

Commissioned and gifted to the Royal College by Richard Mead in 1739.
for an excellent and detailed tho' dated essay on the life of Dr Harvey
see G. Keynes, The Life of William Harvey (Oxford: Clarendon Press,1978)
not consulted here.

 Dr Harvey travelled on the continent with the Earl of Arundel in 1636.

see also Brief Lives by his friend John Aubrey.

Photographed by the author.

I am very grateful to all the staff at the Royal College for allowing myself and Peter Hone to visit the college and to making our visit such a delight.


Peter Scheemakers.

by Francis Hayman.

oil on canvas.

56 x 43 cms.

Depicting also the bust of Harvey and also showing him holding the engraving by Houbraken from Birch's Heads.
Also depicted is his head of Inigo Jones.

Purchased Sotheby's 2008

Royal College of Physicians

William Harvey, attributed to Daniel Mytens, circa 1627 - NPG 5115 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

William Harvey MD.
by Daniel Mytens
Oil on Canvas
724 x 610 mm.

 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Attributed to Cornelius Jansen.
Oil on Canvas.
Royal College of Physicians.
This portrait appears to have once been paired with a portrait of Lord Clarendon.

Portrait of William Harvey, bust in an oval, three-quarter to left, wearing a dark coat and white collar tied with tassels, looking towards the viewer, with short wavy hair and a small moustache and beard; proof before letter.  1765  Mezzotint

William Harvey.
After Cornelius Jansen.
Mezzotint perhaps by James Mc Ardell.
327 x 228 mm.

A later version of the mezzotint of 1794 attributes the portrait to van Dyck.

British Museum.

 Sir Charles Scarburgh (1624–1694)

Sir Charles Scarburgh (1624 - 1694)
attributed to Jean Demetrius.
134 x 104 cms approx.

A pupil of Harvey at Oxford and became his lifelong friend - an original founder member of the Royal Society first physician to Charles II.

Royal College of Physicians.

 Dr William Harvey by Cornelius Jansen.

113 x 94 cms.

Formerly in the collection of Richard Meade.

Hunterian Museum, Glasgow.

Note - They say -This portrait of Dr Harvey, the physician who discovered the circulation of the blood, was in the collection of the Hunterian Museum's founder and was regarded as one of the most important in Dr Hunter's Museum. Harvey's head, taken from this painting, was engraved by Houbraken in 1739 for Birch's Heads of Illustrious Persons, when the painting was in the possession of the Royal Physician Dr Mead.
Houbraken attributed the painting (mistakenly, it would seem) to the landscape painter Bemmel. The book held by Dr Harvey has been identified by Mr Keynes as Adrianus Spigelius, Opera quae extant omnia ..., Amsterdam, 1645, tabula III, lib. II.
Harvey's expensive, formal velvet gown was bequeathed to his colleague Sir Charles Scarburgh (1615-1694), of whom the Royal College of Physicians owns a portrait very similar in execution to this one.

The portraits are close in size and appear to form a pair of pendants by one artist, each with a view of Rome in the background and with each physician gesturing towards an anatomical book on a table. 

In a letter dated 21/10/1991, Geoffrey Davenport, Librarian in the Royal College of Physicians, suggests that book in Harvey's hands is the anatomy book of Juan Valverde de Hamusco, his Vivae imagines partium corporis humani aereis formis expressae, Antwerp, 1566, plate 2, book 2. 

Hunter praised Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the blood as one of the greatest advances in science, and he did research into his life, borrowing papers from Harvey's family, including his will. Hunter's manuscript notes are in Special Collections (MS H 51). They incorporate a list of portraits, in oil and engraved, including Hunter's own picture. Hunter's papers record that Nicholas Claude le Cat, chief surgeon at l'Hotel Dieu, had a copy of this portrait made by Catherine Read, its present location unknown.

Portrait of Dr William Harvey, bust directed to right but looking at the viewer, wearing gown and white collar; in an ornamental oval with a curtain; a drawing of the human arterial system in lower left, a rod of Asclepius and books lying in foreground; before publisher's address.  1739  Engraving

Engraved by Houbraken of Amsterdam
for Birch's Heads
British Museum.

Portrait of William Harvey; three-quarter length, seated in arm chair, to the left, holding hat, wearing fur gown, looking at viewer.  Etching, the title engraved from separate plate

Engraving attributed to Richard Gaywood.

200 x 152 mm.

British Museum.

Portrait of William Harvey.

Peter Lely.

c. 1675.

Oil on Canvas.

76.2 x 63.5 cms.

Given to the College by Lady Davies in 1967.

Royal College of Physicians.


image harvey_rs9274

Another portrait of Dr William Harvey by Lely.

762 x 637 mm.

Given to the Royal Society by John Mapletoft in 1674.

Keynes notes the donor as being John Mappletoft and there is confirmation of the Society’s Journal Book record of a meeting of 27 February 1683/4: “Dr Mapletoft presented the Picture of Dr. Wm. Harvey; for which Mr. Hill was desired to return him the thanks of the Company” [Royal Society Journal Book Original, JBO/7 p.213].

It appears that there was once two portraits of Harvey at the Royal Society.


Anonymous Portrait of Richard Meade.

depicting a relief of Harvey.

Royal College of Physicians.


Bust by Edward Marshall in the Harvey Chapel.

Hempstead, Essex.


 Engraving by William Faithorne.

Frontispiece from the English translation of Excercitationes de Generatione Animalium, 1651.

135 x 90 mm.

British Museum.

Portrait of William Harvey; bust, to the right, looking at viewer; in roundel over pedestal, flanked by allegorical figures, a woman holding twig entwined by snake, and young boy with birds on his arm; after Faithorne; illustration to an unidentified publ

Engraving after the Faithorne engraving above
early 18th Century.
183 x 114 mm approx.
British Museum.

Plaster bust of Harvey.

Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.

Another identical bust of Harvey.

at the Royal College of Physicians of  Edinburgh

A 19th Century cast of Peter Scheemaker's bust of Harvey.

Supplied by P. Sarti in 1830.

Athenaeum Club, London.


Bill from P. Sarti. to the Athenaeum.

The Committee of the Athenæum Club house.

Bought of P Sarti.
£ s d
Jany 26th Figure of Diana Dressing
8. 8. 0
Ditto Venus Victorious
8. 8. 0
Feby 2 Moving repairing & painting to grecion archer
1. 4. 0 4
Bust of Sir Isac Newton
1. 10. 0
Ditto Shakespere
1. 10. 0
Ditto Milton
1. 10. 0
Ditto Lock
1. 10. 0
Ditto Dr Johnson
1. 1. 0
Ditto Dr Harvey
1. 10. 0
Ditto Lord Mansfield
1. 10. 0
Ditto Pope
1. 10. 0 [inserted]
Ditto Bacon
1. 10. 0
Moulding & casting Sir J. Reynolds
3. 3. 0
Adding drapery to ditto
1. 0. 0
Putting pedestal to the Bust of Burke
7. 0
Repairing & painting the Bust of Sir C Wren
12. 0
Painting the Names in the above Busts
19. 6
For taken down & putting twice the Apollo and altering four times the leaf
3. 10. 0
Bust of Garrick
1. 10. 0
All the Articles in this Bill
are correct. C Daly £42. 2. 6
Certified to be correct
Decimus Burton
24 April 1830.
[Endorsed:] 1830.
Casts Ordered for payment.
Sarti Building Committee.
26 April.
Received 30 April of the Trustees of the
Athenæum the sum of Forty two pounds two
shillings and sixpence being the amount of
my Bill for Casts supplied to the New
Building to this time – £42. 2. 6 
 P. Sarti
pasted from -


for some further notes on Harvey see -

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