This Unrivalled Collection: The Hunterian's First Catalogue revisited in Glasgow

By Ben Miller | 13 March 2013

Exhibition preview: This Unrivalled Collection: The Hunterian's First Catalogue, Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow, March 15 – August 11 2013

A photo of various butterflies and insects against a white background on museum display
The Hunterian's First Catalogue. Insects in a Drawer© The Hunterian
Soldier, dealer, collector and enigmatic author, Captain James Laskey was also the compiler of Scotland’s first visitor guide.

Published in 1813, the paper could only speculate about the origins of some of its materials in the days before Darwin: an original cast of the Rosetta Stone, displayed in 1807 but made for the arrival of the stone in London five years earlier, didn’t have its code cracked until years later.

There’s also a three-toed sloth, a Renaissance shield and the tooth of a Mastodon alongside rare insects, butterflies and curiosities from the voyages of Captain Cook, all carefully recorded, catalogued and annotated by Laskey.

A century later, his notes on a gabble of exotic and weird artefacts remain remarkable for their attention to detail and dedication.

  • Open 10am-5pm (11am-4pm Sunday, closed Monday). Admission £5/£3. Follow the gallery on Twitter @hunterian.
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