Leonardo Scholarship and the Cataloguing of the Anatomical Manuscripts
The first academic commentary on Leonardo’s anatomical manuscripts was that of the eminent eighteenth century anatomist William Hunter. His comments on the newly discovered manuscripts are the first of the new world of science. The manuscripts and drawings were found in the possession of King George III, whose Royal Librarian, Richard Dalton, rediscovered them and showed them to Hunter. Hunter was deeply impressed. In his “Foundation Lectures on Anatomy”, Hunter wrote, “Leonardo must have been the foremost anatomist of that time.” He planned to publish the manuscripts with his own commentary, but he died in 1783 before he could undertake the task.