Dentist Bartholomew Ruspini was born around 1728 in Zogno, near Bergamo. As dentistry was a profession that attracted charlatans and quacks, Ruspini styled himself as a surgeon-dentist to set himself apart of these. Having practised in Paris he moved to England, although the exact date of his arrival is not known.
He advertised his services in May 1752 in York. By 1766 he had settled in London under the patronage of the mother of George III having renounced Roman Catholicism and become an Anglican. He set up a practice on Pall Mall opposite Carlton House, the residence of the Prince of Wales (who became a friend). In 1768 Ruspini published A Treatise on the Teeth in which he warned for the effect of sugar and suggested that sleeping with the head uncovered would result in dental disease.
In 1777 he was the co-founder of the Masonic Lodge of the Nine Muses (no. 235) which, apart from Italian members, attracted a number of immigrant musicians and artists, including J.C. Bach. In 1788, Ruspini and nine fellow Freemasons founded the Royal Masonic School for Girls to provide education to the daughters of masons who had died or were unable to support their families. He died at his home in Pall Mall in December 1813. A portrait of Ruspini with his family, painted by Nathaniel Hone around 1775, is preserved in The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.