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Sir Jeremiah Fitzpatrick
By: W. Barnard
After: S. Drummond, 1801.
Dimensions: 40.6 x 64.6 cm
Sir Jeremiah Fitzpatrick (c.
1740-1810) was a hysician bornin Kilbeggan, Westmeath. Little is known of his life, family, and educationpossibly due to his Catholic background. Inspired by John Howard's
Stateof the Prisons in England and Wales
(1777) and demands for prisonreforms in Ireland he became a prison physician and an influential campaignerfor prison reform. He began investigating the ways military authoritiescould reduce health problems such as outbreaks of disease in 1780 and fouryears later, he was given the post of inspector of health for the landforces. His public work for humanity was acclaimed in 1782 when he wasknighted and the next year he was honoured as the primary witness calledbefore the parliamentary committee established to inquire into the stateof prisons.
Few images make reference to the groups which benefitted from the work of the medical professionals depicted. This image indicates the specific public services improved by Fitzpatrick, for prisons, orphans, widows, and the army. This exemplifies the trend to emphasise humanitarian work instead of patronage or family connections, which developed in this period.