Richard Mead

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Portrait of: Richard Mead
By: B. Baron
After: A. Ramsay
Style: Line engraving
Date: 1749
Dimensions: 33 x 51. 5 cm

Richard Mead (1673-1754) was a physician and collector of books and art born in Middlesex. He studied at the University of Leiden although he did not graduate. Mead embarked on a Grand Tour of Europe in 1703, where he developed an interest in antiquities. In 1703, Mead was elected to the Royal Societyand physician to St Thomas's Hospital in Southwark. In 1716 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.

Although Mead had a particular interest in antiquity developed on his Grand Tour of Europe, classical allusions were popular in many portraits of the long eighteenth century. Behind Mead, in an enclave surrounded by a neo-classical arch, stands a statue of the Goddess of Health, Hygeia. The drapes are also a common feature in portraiture reminiscent of the draping of a toga, additionally large expanses of cloth were expensive in this period, giving the portrait a sense of grandeur.

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