Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Stephen Martin

  • Nicolò Manucci, physician at the Court of Prince Shah Alam in seventeenth-century India

    Stephen MartinThailand A teenage stowaway on a ship from Venice in 1653 had an unusual route into medicine. He was Nicolò Manucci (1638–1720, Fig 1). The earliest image of him gathering medicinal herbs in India is in the style of a Moghul imperial artist, probably done in Aurangabad, judging by the pink and brown color of…

  • Medical monuments in St. John’s Church, Kolkata

    Stephen MartinThailand The British architecture of Kolkata, though by no means representative of modern India, has some extraordinary beauty. One of many outstanding sites is St. John’s Church, consecrated in 1787 (Fig 1) and based on James Gibbs’ St. Martin in the Fields in Trafalgar Square, London. In the Regency period, Michael Cheese was the…

  • Anatomy and psychology in George Stubbs’ portrait of Joseph Banks

    Stephen MartinThailandAidan JonesUnited Kingdom Medical investigation techniques applied to art history1 can help solve mysteries, as illustrated by a striking, late eighteenth-century portrait2 (Fig 1) recently acquired for an educational exhibition.3 Its history had been forgotten, but it was identified as an inheritance portrait by its dirty, dog-eared parchment property titles in legal pink ribbon.4…

  • Art, anhedonia, and family psychodynamics in the creativity of Nathaniel Hawthorne

    Stephen MartinThailand There are interesting questions about how the mental phenomenology of the great writer Nathaniel Hawthorne1 drove his work. His supreme narrative gift and engaging observation were shadowed by anhedonia, which is a complete or partial lack of the ability to experience pleasure and a hallmark of clinical depression. In modern criteria,2 major depressive…

  • Blindness and visual sensory distortion in Thomas Bewick’s woodcuts

    Stephen MartinThailand The artist and naturalist Thomas Bewick (1753–1828) was one of the Enlightenment’s leading polymaths. He wrote groundbreaking books on birds1 and mammals,2 as well as an autobiography, which is absorbing and charming. This Memoir of Thomas Bewick3 is a delightfully detailed window on the eighteenth century and Regency periods, focusing on his ordinary…

  • Clinical signs in images of King Henry VII

    Stephen MartinDurham, United Kingdom Westminster Abbey has a superb effigy that was made for the funeral of King Henry VII. (Fig 1) Henry, born in 1457 and deceased in 1509, was famous for defeating Richard III in the Wars of the Roses. The effigy has such breathtaking detail that it was probably made from a…

  • The painting of the Good Samaritan in Bracciano Castle

    Stephen MartinThailand The Orsini of Bracciano were one of the richest and most powerful aristocratic families in early modern Italy.1 Much of their impressive collection remains in Bracciano Castle, Lazio,2 and includes an early painting of the Good Samaritan described by Saint Luke. It is unusual in style and dates from about 1570 to 1630,…

  • John Hunter, his wolf dogs, and the inherited smiles of Pomeranians

    Stephen Martin United Kingdom   Fig 1. Title of Hunter’s Royal Society wolf dogs paper. © Author, from original, CC-BY 4.0 John Hunter, 1728-1793, was a polymathic doctor. Besides being an anatomist and clinician, he was also interested in early genetics, exemplified by his “Observations tending to shew that the Wolf, Jackal, and Dog, are…

  • A Regency epitaph for a child

    Stephen MartinCounty Durham, UK In some spot where common herbage growsPerchance a violet rears its purple head:Some careful gardener plucks it ere it blowsTo spread and flourish in a nobler bed:Such was thy fate dear child, thy opening suchPre-eminence in early bloom was shown:Too good for earth perhaps or lov’d too much.Heaven saw, and early…

  • St. Godric and the lost leper hospital of Darlington

    Stephen Martin UK   Fig 1. Godric praying to the Virgin, c 1400. PD-US, accessed: wikimedia, original: ©British Library Board, Cotton, Faustina, VI, ii 16 V. In the late 1100s, the English monk Reginald of Durham wrote an account in Latin of the hermit St. Godric, whom he knew personally.1 Reginald attributed over two hundred…