Erasmus Darwin

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Portrait of: Erasmus Darwin
Style: Mezzotint
Dimensions: 35. 2 x 48. 6 cm

Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802) was a physician and natural philosopher. He studied at the University of Edinburgh, and obtained an MB in 1755 from St John's College, Cambridge. In 1761 Darwin became a Fellow of the Royal Society in London. He was a founding member of several provincial medical societies including the Botanical Society at Lichfield, the Lunar Society of Birmingham, and the Derby Philosophical Society. He was also involved in public health matters such as nutrition and ventilation, and in Derby he attempted to institute a dispensary for the poor, however this failed.

This portrait of Darwin depicts him in an unadorned plain black suit with a white shirt and cravat that increasingly became uniform throughout the eighteenthand nineteenth centuries and came to stand for the serious professional man.

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