Sir John Forbes

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Portrait of: Sir John Forbes
By W. Walker
After J. Partridge
Style: Mezzotint
Dimensions: 34. 4 x 26. 4 cm

Sir John Forbes (1787-1861) was a Scottish physician and medical journalist. He studied in Edinburgh, receiving a diploma from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1806. After working as a surgeon in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars, Forbes studied at the University of Edinburgh, receiving his MD in 1817. He was a member of numerous academic and medical societies across Europe and in America. This print portrays Forbes leisurely engaged in the process of academic pursuit. He is seated in an armchair in front of a set of writing implements and a bookshelf.

Mezzotint is a form of tonal engraving that was a technique very popularin the eighteenth century. It was often referred to as the manière Anglaise (English manner) as the style was particularly fashionable in England. The procedure involved pitting the surface to create a uniform burr that holds the ink. Then a burnisher is used to even out the surface and create the lighter areas. The effect is a very smooth and rich image.

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