• In his biography of John Baron, Joseph Pettigrew quotes Baron’s description of his first meeting with Edward Jenner in 1808: ‘he was dressed in a blue coat, nankeen breeches and white stockings’. Pettigrew notes in an appendix that ‘we are grateful to him who told us that Milton wore big buckles. . . and in some future day the curious reader may be thankful for such particulars descriptive of the habits of Jenner’.
  • In fact dress was a concern of contemporary medical biographers used to make judgements about the moral character of the subject and therefore his strength as a medical professional. Plainness, modesty, and simplicity were common traits of the ideal doctor and these qualities were emphasised not only in their character and actions but also their dress. The unadorned uniform black suit was the attire that came to symbolise the serious professional man in medical portraits rather than official costume or elaborate finery.
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