Record

Reference numberVF/34
Alternative reference numberVF34
LevelItem
Title"Oxford Physiology"
ArtistWard, Leslie
Date17 May 1894
DescriptionVanity Fair cartoon by "Spy" of John Burdon Sanderson FRS leaning against a chair. Full length, slightly left profile. Lithograph by Vincent Brooks, Day & Son
CaptionMen of the Day. No. 587
Dr John Scott Burdon Sanderson
Born at Newcastle-on-Tyne nearly sixty-six years ago, he seems to have learned something of Medicine at Edinburgh University, where he took his M.B. degree; for at the age of eight-and-twenty he burst upon Paddington as its Medical Officer of Health. He became physician to the Middlesex Hospital and to the Brompton Consumption Hospital, and presently come to be so well known as a man of research that he was made Jodrell Professor of Physiology in University College.
Unlike most Professors, he found his regular work insufficient for his active inclinations, wherefore he filled up his spare time by investigation of the Cattle Plague on behalf of the Royal Commissioners appointed to abolish that disease; by inquiring into an epidemic of Cerebro-Spinal Meningitis in North Germany; by finding out what might be the true influence of extreme heat on the health of workers in the Cornish mines for another set of Royal Commissioners; by acting as Professor Superintendent of the Brown Institution; by writing many recondite works on pathology and physiology; by conducting elaborate researches into Electrical Properties of the Dionaea Muscipula, as well as into the electrical organs of electrical fishes; by careful inquiry into the ways and methods of Infection and Contagion; and by much other scientific work which may some day be found useful to the world: all which things marked him out as a man of such scientific achievement that he was naturally elected Waynflete Professor of Physiology at Oxford on the first opportunity, which occurred nearly twelve years ago. He is now held to be one of the first Physiologists in Europe, and one of the pet abominations of the anti-vivisectionists. He is the happy possessor of a Royal Medal earned by his researches into Animal and Plant Electricity and into the Nature of Contagion; he has had conferred upon him all sorts of degrees; and he was last year's President of the British Association: which last distinction stamps him as a very great man indeed.
He is so absent-minded that he once astonished a nervous undergraduate who was undergoing his viva voce examination by addressing a long question to him in German; and on another occasion, after a professional lecture, he put on a common scholar's gown and walked home in the inadequate robe. He is quite a retiring man though he once rode a tricycle. He believes so much in education that he supports the University Extension fad; and he has been known to entertain members of that Extensionist horde which is occasionally allowed to invade Oxford. He works too hard and he has lately suffered from a long illness; for he has not the toughness of constitution which is the German essence of Professor Virchow. He has a great mind which refuses to work in a circle - or indeed in any one of the Nine Circles.
In spite of his Science, he is greatly liked by all who know him, and he takes so much interest in the work of his pupils that they become quite attached to him. Yet the late Dr. Liddon, during a heated Convocation debate on vivisection, once let his tongue slip into calling him "Dr. Burdensome."
FormatLithograph
MaterialsColoured lithograph on paper
Dimensions380mm x 263mm
NotesText is accompanying article from "Vanity Fair" (by Jehu Junior?)
Access statusOpen
ProvenancePurchased by the Royal Society from Patrick Pollak Antiquarian & Rare Books, September 1999
Related materialAlan H Sykes 'The Doctors in Vanity Fair' 1995, page 34
Colour transparency, Box N101. IM/004005
Related records in the catalogueIM/004005
Fellows associated with this archive
CodeNameDates
NA8280Burdon-Sanderson; Sir; John Scott (1828 - 1905)1828 - 1905
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