The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3
At what time the original structure was erected does not appear: but it was enlarged at different periods down to the time of Charles the . The theatre of anatomy was built by Inigo Jones in the years , and ; Walpole calls it
This theatre through being a detached building escaped conflagration; but all the other parts suffered in the great fire of .
It was pulled down about the year , the company having no use for it, and houses were soon afterwards erected upon its site.
The present buildings were erected by subscription within a few years after the fire, and are of brick; the entrance and dwelling of the clerk, fronting the street, are separated from the other parts by a small paved court. The hall is a good room, but not large, paved with marble; the west end is semicircular, and remarkable from the singular circumstance of its forming the interior of of the towers, (or bulwarks as they are called in the minutes,) that defended the city wall.
At the east end is a screen of the Corinthian order, supporting a music gallery and clock; by an inscription on the front, it appears the hall was
On each side of the semicircular recess are portraits, of which is of Mr. Ephraim Skinner; and on the north side of the ball are full length paintings of human figures, shewing the disposition of the muscles, &c. In the west window are the royal arms, in stained glass.
The court room, which has a small octagonal cupolain the centre, built in , is an apartment affording much interest from the various pictures with which it is decorated. The principal of these is the celebrated piece by Holbein, of
this fine picture, which is painted on pannel, and in a very excellent state of preservation, measures feet inches in length, and feet in width. Henry is represented in his royal robes, and crowned, seated on a chair of state, and holding in his left hand a sword, erect, resting upon his knee: on each side, are the principal members of the company, kneeling, with others behind, standing, and the king is in the act of presenting the charter with his right hand to Thomas Vicary, the then master. The names of of the chief members are upon their shoulders, and near the top of the picture, on the left, is this inscription:--
All the members are in gowns trimmed with fur; the on the right of the king, represent the doctors Chamber, Butts, and Alsop; all of whom at the time of giving the charter, were past masters of the company. Dr. John Chamber was Henry's principal physician, and dean ot college, , where he built the curious cloister, a part of which still remains in the Speaker's house: he has on a close cap, and his hands are wrapped in the large sleeves of his gown. Dr. William Butts, who was also king's physician, and had been admitted into the college of physicians, as
is also in a cap, and has a gold chain over shoulder: his conduct, on the presumed degradation of archbishop Cranmer, has been finely pourtrayed by Shakespeare in his play of Henry the . Dr. J. Alsop is represented with lank hair, and uncovered. The names inscribed upon the persons on the king's left hand, are as follow: T. Vicary, J. Aylef, N. Symson, E. Harman, J. Monforde, J. Pen, N. Alcoke, R. Fereis, W. Tylly, and X. Samon. Vicary, who has a gold chain like Butts, was serjeant-surgeon to the sovereigns, Henry the , Edward the , queen Mary, and queen Elizabeth ; and is reputed to have been the author of the work on anatomy that ever was written in the English language. Sir John Ayliffe was
| also an eminent surgeon, and had been sheriff of London in : according to the inscription on his monument in the church of St. Michael Bassishaw, he was |
by Henry the ,
and was afterwards knighted for his services by Edward the .
This picture is not only finely and forcibly coloured, but is also finished with such carefulness, and minuteness of pencilling, that even the subordinate parts, as the rings on the king's fingers, the ermine of his robes, &c. will bear a very close examination, and still appear true to nature. It is remarkable likewise from furnishing an example of a beginning alteration of costume, in respect to shirts; the wrists of Henry being encircled by small ruffles, and the necks of several of the members displaying a raised collar. An engraving from it was made in , at the expense of the company, (who have the plate still in their possession,) by B. Barron, whose reduced drawing in red chalk is also preserved in this apartment. The painting itself was borrowed by James the , (whose grandmother, Margaret, was Henry the 's sister,) and his letter on the occasion is yet preserved by the company: it asserts, that
On the same side of the room with this picture, are excellently painted whole lengths said to represent
but unknown whom; and a mezzotinto head of
formerly clerk to this company, and member of parliament, for Ludgershall, in Wiltshire. This gentleman was deputy for the ward of Farringdon Within: he projected various useful plans for the improvement of the city, and was the principal means of the streets being paved with Scotch granite, &c. in the regular way in which they now are. He presented his company with a very beautiful painting of a duchess of Richmond, said to be by sir Peter Lely; yet more probably by Vandyke. It is placed over the fire place. The duchess is represented sitting, with a lamb and olive branch; the drapery is very finely coloured.
The principal other pictures in this room, are Charles the , sitting, a -quarter length; Mr. Lisle, barber-surgeon to that monarch; sir John Frederick, who was sheriff in ; sir Charles Bernard, surgeon to queen Anne; Inigo Jones, a fine head by Vandyke; Edward Arris, esq. an alderman of London, and the celebrated sir Charles Scarborough, chief physician to sovereigns, Charles the , James the , and William the , and of the mathematicians of his time. The last portraits are in the same piece, and were ordered to be
in . Dr. Scarborough was chosen anatomical reader in this hall, on the ; and shortly afterwards he commenced the delivery of his
| highly-famed anatomical lectures. He is represented |
Under the picture is the following inscription, which was composed by Dr. Thomas Arris, M. P. for St. Alban's, in , who was son to Mr. alderman Arris, the latter of whom bequeathed the sum of for founding the muscular lecture in this hall:
Nearly opposite to this hall are the alms-houses founded in the year , by sir Ambrose Nicholas, knt. lord mayor and salter, for widows of members of that company.
On the west side of is the Parish Clerks' Hall, now occupied as a flannel warehouse, except small rooms, which are used for the purposes of their business. In the ante room is an organ, purchased in .
In the court room is a portrait of
He is represented in a black furred gown, small ruff, and collegiate cap. Here also are portraits of Mr. J. Clarke, years clerk of St. Michael, , and Mr. R. Hust, the present father of the court. The last portrait is executed by Ward.
The east window is adorned with the arms of Charles II. in stained glass; and portraits, very correctly executed, of John Clarke, parish clerk of St. Bartholomew the less, master , aged , and Stephen Peckhurst, of , Fish-street, master, ; between which are pretty little squares, representing David playing on the harp, surrounded by a circle of winged infants; and St. Cecilia at the organ, accompanied by a group of angels performing on various instruments.
Over the chimney is a miserable picture of the flight from Egypt.
On the flat of the staircase was formerly a portrait of a member of the company, and a decayed painting of our Saviour raising Lazarus.
Nearly opposite is , so called from king Athelstan's or Adlestan's palace, which some authors conceive stood in this street.
On the north side of this street is
 Barron agreed to engrave the plate for 150 guineas; viz. 100 guineas in money, and 50 guineas n 100 prints.