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John Halliday Scott 1851--1914

John Halliday Scott was a prime shaper in both Dunedin's medical school and its art community. He was a revered critic, a friend of artists and a talent amateur artist. Scott came from Scotland in 1877 at the age of 26 after being awarded an MD and a gold medal for his work as a demonstrator of anatomy at Edinburgh University.

Seeing upon his arrival that a medical school was virtually non-existent, he immediately set to work. He started off by establishing a two-year programme from where students could go on to complete their degrees in Edinburgh. From there he went on to develop a full-time course by appointing part-time teachers from overseas. For 27 years, he was the school's only full-time teacher, who was remembered for the clarity and thoroughness, but also the "polite sarcasm" with which he conducted his lessons.

In his spare time, Scott's passion was for art, as both an amateur artist and an important and revered figure in the arts community of early Dunedin. He made painting expeditions to North Otago and Milford Sound, rendering detailed and clear depictions of the landscape. His anatomical drawings are so accurate that some of them are still in use today. He was also, along with William Hodgkins, responsible for setting up the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, and the famous expatriate Dunedin painter Frances Hodgkins said that she cared "dreadfully" for Scott's opinion when she showed him her work.

In 1883, he married Helen Gardner Bealey, with whom he had five children.

-- See: Wright-St Clair, Rex. 'Scott, John Halliday 1851 - 1914'. Dictionary of New Zealand Biography.

-- Other burials recorded at the same site: Helen G SCOTT d. 1899.

John Halliday Scott
Image courtesy of:
Andrew and Gaye Falconer

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