Joseph Banks and Lord Bessborough’s unusual dog

Joseph Banks and Lord Bessborough’s unusual dog

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020

“A favourite dog of Lord Bessborough’s, which had lived in the family for many years, was observed to have no teats, and never to have been in heat, although, to appearance, a perfectly formed bitch in all other respects: those circumstances being made known to Sir Joseph Banks, he requested, that when the animal died, it be sent to him…”. So Everard Home tells the story in his “An Account of the Dissection of an Hermaphrodite Dog”, London 1799. Really, Joseph Banks appears everywhere, sometimes in the unlikeliest of circumstances.

We have a rare separately paginated offprint of Home's article which appeared in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society for January 1799 (in other words not simply excised from the journal printing: such offprints were sometimes provided to an author in small numbers to distribute privately).

Everard Home was the surgeon John Hunter’s brother-in-law, sometimes acted as his assistant, and had access to his famous collection of anatomical specimens (the basis of today's Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons in London). He made use of Hunter's collection for this piece.

See more here.