Record

Authorised form of nameBrewster; Sir; David (1781 - 1868); natural philosopher
Dates1781 - 1868
NationalityBritish
Place of birthJedburgh, Roxburghshire, Scotland
Date of birth11 December 1781
Place of deathAllerby, Melrose
Date of death10 February 1868
Research fieldOptics
ActivityEducation:
Edinburgh University
Career:
Intended for the clergy, but gave it up; Editor, 'Edinburgh magazine' (1802); Tutor (1801-1807); visited France and Switzerland (1814); invented the kaleidoscope (1816); recieved a pension after being knighted; Principal of St Salvators and St Leonards, St Andrews, Scotland (1838); Vice Chancellor, Edinburgh University (1859-1868); died of pneumonia
Honours:
Kt 1831
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election04/05/1815
Royal Society activityMedals and prizes:
Copley Medal 1815; Rumford Medal 1818; Royal Medal 1830
RelationshipsSon of James Brewster, Rector of the Grammar School, Jedburgh
SourcesSources:
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; DSB
Obituaries:
Proc Roy Soc 1868-1869 vol 17 pp lxix-lxxiv signed by J H G
References:
W H Brock, 'The Selection of the Authors of the Bridgewater Treatises' in NR 1966 vol 21 pp 162-179
L Pearce Williams, 'The Royal Society and the Founding of the British Association for the Advancement of Science' in NR 1961 vol 16 pp 221-233
John R Levene, 'Sir George Biddell Airy, FRS (1801-1892) and the Discovery and Correction of Astigmatism' in NR 1966 vol 21 pp 180-199
Alex D D Craik, 'James Ivory's last papers on the 'Figure of the Earth' (with biographical additions) in NR 2002 vol 56 pp 187-204
F Kurzer, 'The life and work of Charles Tomlinson FRS: A Career in Victorian Science and Technology' in NR 2004 vol 58 pp 203-226
Notes:
DSB gives death place as Allerly, not Allerby, Melrose.
The spine of the volume in the Quiet Room is incorrectly labelled 1868-67
Virtual International Authority Filehttp://viaf.org/viaf/2774127
Royal Society codeNA7450
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
MC/6Volume 6 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1859-1863
MC/8Volume 8 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1867-1869
MC/3/1Letter from L. A. Necker, Prince of Wales Coffeehouse, Leicester Place, to the Royal Society2 January 1839
IM/000551Brewster, Sir Davidnd
MM/10/176'Results respecting the Composition of Polar Light, and the lines in the Spectrum', by David Brewster15 January 1831
MC/3Volume 3 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1839-1843
IM/000552Brewster, Sir Davidnd
MC/2Volume 2 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1832-1838
MS/743/1/48Letter from David Brewster, St Andrews, to [John Hall] Gladstone 17 August 1860
MM/12/69Letter from David Brewster, St Andrews, to C R Weld20 December 1852
MM/10/174'General Results of Experiments on the Polarisation of Light', by David Brewster30 November 1829
MM/10/177'A notice of some experiments on light', by David Brewster1831
MM/10/175'On the Polarisation of Light by Metals', by David Brewster9 January 1830
AP/9/5Unpublished paper, 'Abstract of experiments on light' by David Brewster28 July 1815
AP/8A/4Unpublished letter, 'On a new property of light possessed by the second surfaces of transparent bodies' from David Brewster to Sir Joseph Banks9 January 1815
MS/743/1/49Letter from David Brewster, Allerly by Melrose, to [John Hall] Gladstone3 October 1860
MS/743/1/38Letter from David Brewster, St Andrews, to [John Hall] Gladstone15 December 1859
MS/743/1/33Letter from David Brewster, St Leonard's College, to [John Hall] Gladstone21 February 1859
MS/743/1/40Letter from David Brewster, St Andrews, to [John Hall] Gladstone30 January 1860
MS/743/1/50Letter from David Brewster, Duncliffe, Edinburgh to [John Hall] Gladstone15 March 1861
MS/743/1/45Letter from David Brewster, View Bank, Trinity, Edinburgh, to [John Hall] Gladstone30 March 1860
MS/743/1/46Letter from David Brewster, View Bank, Trinity, to [John Hall] Gladstone17 May 1860
MS/743/1/41Letter from David Brewster, View Bank, Trinity, Edinburgh, to [John Hall] Gladstone7 March 1860
MS/743/1/53Letter from David Brewster, Allerly, Melrose, to [John Hall] Gladstone2 May 1862
MS/743/1/59Letter from David Brewster, Allerly, Melrose, to [John Hall] Gladstone25 April 1863
MS/743/1/64Letter from David Brewster, 24 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, to [John Hall] Gladstone27 January 1864
MS/743/1/173Copy letter from Thomas Colby to Robert Stevenson1 November 1821 [1860?]
MC/5Volume 5 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1851-1858
IM/Maull/000553Brewster, Sir Davidnd
PT/73/5/4Drawings, optical effects observed during experiments on the heat treatment of glass by [David Brewster] [1815]
PT/73/5/5Drawings, optical effects observed during experiments on the heat treatment of glass by [David Brewster] [1815]
PT/73/5/3Drawings, optical effects observed during experiments on the heat treatment of glass by [David Brewster] [1815]
PT/73/5/6Drawings, optical effects observed during experiments on the heat treatment of glass by [David Brewster] [1815]
PT/73/5/11Drawings, optical effects in crystalline materials under pressure by [David Brewster][1816]
MDA/A/16/31Letter from David Christie Martin to Thomas Ralph Merton, The Royal Society 11 November 1954
MC/1Volume 1 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1800-1831
PT/73/5/10Drawings, optical effects in crystalline materials under pressure by [David Brewster][1816]
RR/4/20Referee's report by Humphrey Lloyd, on a paper 'On the lines of the solar spectrum' by David Brewster and John Hall Gladstone30 April 1860
RR/1/30Referee's report by Peter Mark Roget, on a paper 'On the anatomical and optical struc­ture of the crystalline lenses of animals, particularly that of the cod' by David Brewster4 July 1833
RR/1/33Referee's report by George Biddell Airy, on a paper 'On a remarkable property of the diamond' by David Brewster20 March 1841
RR/1/31Referee's report by William Clift, on a paper 'On the anatomical and optical structure of the crystalline lenses of animals, particularly that of the cod' by David Brewster18 June 1833
NLB/62/462Copy letter from Francis Alexander Towle, Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society; to the Assistant Secretary of the British Association17 February 1922
PT/21/7Paper, 'On the anatomical and optical structure of the crystalline lenses of animals, particularly those of the hare and the salmon' by Sir D [David] Brewster14 November 1835
PT/13/2Paper, 'On the laws which regulate the absorption of polarised light by doubly refracting crystals' by David Brewster in a letter to the Rt Hon Sir Joseph Banks17 October 1818
PT/8/20Paper, 'On new properties of light exhibited in the optical phenomena of mother of pearl, and other bodies to which the superficial structure of that substance can be communicated' by David Brewster in a letter to the Right Hon Sir Joseph Banks[1814]
PT/10/10Paper, 'On the communication of the structure of doubly refracting crystals to glass, muriate of soda, fluor spar and other substances by mechanical compression and dilatation' by David Brewster in a letter to the Rt Hon Sir Joseph Banks[1816]
PT/9/5Paper, 'On the effects of simple pressure in producing that species of crystallisation which forms two oppositely polarised images, and exhibits the complementary colours by polarised light' by David Brewster in a letter to the Right Hon Sir Joseph Banks3 January 1815
PT/7/13Paper, 'On some properties of light' in a letter from David Brewster to Sir H [Humphry] Davy1812-1813
MS/427/111Copy letter from [Thomas Henry] Huxley, Secretary of the Royal Society; to T. Usher Esq.17 June 1881
PT/8/13Paper, 'On the polarisation of light by oblique transmission through all bodies whether crystallised or uncrystallised' by David Brewster in a letter to Taylor Combe24 November 1813
PT/8/22Paper, 'Results of some recent experiments on the properties impressed upon light by the action of glass raised to different temperatures and cooled under different circumstances' by David Brewster in a letter to the Rt Hon Sir Jos [Joseph] Banks8 April 1814
PT/9/1Paper, 'Additional observations on the optical properties, and structure of heated glass and unannealed glass drops' by David Brewster in a letter to the Right Hon Sir Joseph Banks8 April 1814
PT/60/9Paper, 'On the lines of the solar spectrum' by Sir David Brewster and J H [John Hall] Gladstone[1860]
PT/12/13Paper, 'On the laws of polarisation and double refraction in regularly crystallised bodies' by David Brewster in a letter to the Rt Hon Sir Joseph Banks1 June 1817
PT/13/21Paper, 'On the optical and physical properties of tabasheer' by David Brewster in a letter to the Right Hon Sir Joseph Banks2 March 1819
PT/10/21Paper, 'On the structure of the crystalline lens in fishes and quadrupeds, as ascertained by its action on polarised light' by David Brewster in a letter to the Rt Hon Sir Joseph Banks20 May 1816
MS/426/45Copy letter from [John William] Lubbock, Treasurer of the Royal Society; to Sir David Brewster11 March 1842
MS/426/39Copy letter from the Royal Society; to Sir David Brewster12 February 1842
PT/9/18Paper, 'On the multiplication of images, and the colours which accompany them in some specimens of calcareous spar' by David Brewster in a letter to the Right Hon Sir Joseph Banks1 May 1815
MS/426/43Copy letter from [John William] Lubbock, Treasurer of the Royal Society; to Sir David Brewster, St. Leonard's, St. Andrews5 March 1842
PT/8/12Paper, draft of 'On the affections of light transmitted thro' various crystallised bodies' in a letter from David Brewster to Sir H [Humphry] Davy10 September 1813
MS/426/144Copy letter from C R W [Charles Richard Weld], the Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society; to A [Augustus] De Morgan Esq.20 September 1845
PT/9/9Paper, 'On the laws which regulate the polarisation of light by reflexion from transparent bodies' by David Brewster in a letter to the Right Hon Sir Joseph Banks11 February 1815
PT/13/13Paper, 'On the action of crystallised surfaces upon light' by David Brewster in a letter to the Rt Hon Sir Joseph Banks12 November 1818
PT/8/11Paper, 'On the affections of light transmitted through crystallised bodies' by David Brewster in a letter to Sir Humphry Davy[1813]
PT/10/4Paper, 'On the properties of heat as exhibited in its propogation along plates of glass' by David Brewster in a letter to the Rt Hon Sir Joseph Banks[1815]
PT/9/3Paper, 'Experiments on the depolarisation of light as exhibited by various mineral, animal and vegetable bodies, and a reference of the phenomena to the general principles of polarisation' by David Brewster in a letter to the Rt Hon Sir Joseph Banks22 October 1814
PT/32/16Paper, 'Different properties of solar radiation producing or preventing a deposit of mercury on silver plates coated with iodine or its compounds with bromine or chlorine, modified by coloured glass media and the vapours of the atmosphere' by A [Antoine Jean Francois] Claudet[1847]
PT/25/1Paper, 'On the phenomena of thin plates of solid and fluid substances exposed to polarised light' by Sir David Brewster8 April 1841
MS/426/433Copy letter from S [Samuel] Hunter Christie, Secretary of the Royal Society; to Dr Lloyd; to [George Biddell] Airy; to Sir D [David] Brewster; to J [John Frederick William] Herschel; to Prof [James David] Forbes; W H [William Hallowes] Miller; Baden Powell; and Dr Thewell16 November 1850
MS/426/311Copy letter from C R [Charles Richard] Weld, the Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society; to Sir David Brewster7 February 1848
MS/426/40Copy letter from [John William] Lubbock, Treasurer of the Royal Society; to Sir David Brewtser, St. Leonards, St. Andrews24 February 1842
MS/426/22Copy letter from [Peter Mark] Roget, Secretary of the Royal Society; to David Brewster, St. Leonards Street25 November 1841
MS/743/1/32Letter from David Brewster, St Leonard's College, St Andrews, to [John Hall] Gladstone 1 January 1859
PT/73/5/13Paintings, cod eye lens under polarised light by [David Brewster][1816]
EC/1815/15Brewster, Sir David: certificate of election to the Royal Society
IM/Maull/000550Brewster, Sir Davidnd
MS/743/1/52Letter from David Brewster, Allerly, Melrose, to [John Hall] Gladstone5 June 1861
MS/426/663Copy letter from B C [Benjamin Collins] Brodie; President of the Royal Society; to the Earl of Portsmouth [Isaac Newton Wallop]26 February 1859
RR/1bis/26Referee's report by George Biddell Airy, on two papers, [attributed] 'On the calculation of attractions, and the figure of the earth' by Charles James Hargreave, and 'On the compensations of polarized light, with the description of a polarimeter for Measuring Degrees of Polarization' by David Brewster9 June 1841
PT/8/11/1Manuscript, 'On the affections of light transmitted through crystallised bodies' by David Brewster in a letter to Sir Humphry Davy[1813]
PT/8/11/2Plate, diagrams showing the structure of crystals by unknown artist[1813]
PT/8/11/3Plate, views of topaz through a plate of agate by unknown artist[1813]
PT/8/11/4Plate, diagram of rings of light shining through agate by unknown artist[1813]
PT/8/11/5Plate, draft of diagram of rings of light shining through agate by unknown artist[1813]
PT/8/11/6Plate, diagram of rings of light shining through moving agate by unknown artist[1813]
PT/8/12/1Manuscript, draft of 'On the affections of light transmitted thro' various crystallised bodies' in a letter from David Brewster to Sir H [Humphry] Davy10 September 1813
PT/8/12/2Plate, 'First set of rings' by unknown artist[1813]
PT/8/12/3Plate, alternate view of 'First set of rings' by unknown artist[1813]
PT/8/12/4Plate, 'Second set of rings' by unknown artist[1813]
PT/8/12/5Plate, 'Third set of rings' by unknown artist[1813]
PT/8/12/6Plate, 'Fourth set of rings' by unknown artist[1813]
PT/8/13/1Manuscript, 'On the polarisation of light by oblique transmission through all bodies whether crystallised or uncrystallised' by David Brewster in a letter to Taylor Combe Esq24 November 1813
PT/8/13/2Plate, diagrams of various light and refraction experiments with glass plates by unknown artist24 November 1813
PT/8/20/1Manuscript, 'On new properties of light exhibited in the optical phenomena of mother of pearl, and other bodies to which the superficial structure of that substance can be communicated' by David Brewster in a letter to the Right Hon Sir Joseph Banks[1814]
PT/8/20/2Plate, diagrams showing light reflecting off of mother of pearl by unknown artist[1814]
PT/9/1/1Manuscript, 'Additional observations on the optical properties, and structure of heated glass and unannealed glass drops' by David Brewster in a letter to the Right Hon Sir Joseph Banks8 April 1814
PT/9/1/2Plate, drawing of three unannealed glass drops by unknown artist8 April 1814
PT/9/3/1Manuscript, 'Experiments on the depolarisation of light as exhibited by various mineral, animal and vegetable bodies, and a reference of the phenomena to the general principles of polarisation' by David Brewster in a letter to the Rt Hon Sir Joseph Banks22 October 1814
PT/9/3/2Plate, 'Luminous sectors exhibited by oil of mace' by unknown artist22 October 1814
PT/9/9/1Manuscript, 'On the laws which regulate the polarisation of light by reflexion from transparent bodies' by David Brewster in a letter to the Right Hon Sir Joseph Banks11 February 1815
PT/9/9/2Plate, diagrams of refracted light rays by unknown artist11 February 1815
PT/9/18/1Manuscript, 'On the multiplication of images, and the colours which accompany them in some specimens of calcareous spar' by David Brewster in a letter to the Right Hon Sir Joseph Banks1 May 1815
PT/9/18/2Plate, light refracting through calcareous spar by unknown artist1 May 1815
PT/12/13/1Manuscript, 'On the laws of polarisation and double refraction in regularly crystallised bodies' by David Brewster in a letter to the Rt Hon Sir Joseph Banks1 June 1817
PT/12/13/2Plate, figures 1-6 showing concentric circles of polarised light and refraction through crystals by unknown artist[1817]
PT/12/13/3Plate, figures 7-14 showing concentric circles of polarised light and refraction through crystals by unknown artist[1817]
MC/1/184Letter from [Sir David] Brewster, Allerby, Melrose, to the Royal Society19 December 1829
MC/1/185Letter from [Sir David] Brewster, Allerby, Melrose, to Captain Edward Sabine, Secretary of the Royal Society 27 December 1829
PT/13/21/1Manuscript, 'On the optical and physical properties of tabasheer' by David Brewster in a letter to the Right Hon Sir Joseph Banks2 March 1819
PT/13/21/2Plate, enlarged pores on a prism of tabasheer by [David Brewster]2 March 1819
MC/1/259Letter from [Sir David] Brewster, Allerby, Melrose, to Dr. [Peter Mark] Roget, Secretary of the Royal Society, Bernard Street6 December 1830
MC/1/275Letter from [Sir David] Brewster, Allerby, Melrose, to Dr. Peter Mark Roget, Secretary of the Royal Society15 January 1831
MC/2/175Letter from Sir David Brewster, Belleville by Kingussie, to John William Lubbock, [Treasurer of the Royal Society]7 June 1835
MC/2/249Letter from David Brewster to John William Lubbock, 29 Eaton Place, Belgrave Square15 April 1834
PT/60/9/1Manuscript, 'On the lines of the solar spectrum' by Sir David Brewster and J H [John Hall] Gladstone[1860]
PT/60/9/2Plate, lines of solar spectrum by unknown artist[1860]
MC/3/173Letter from David Brewster to Dr. [Peter Mark] Roget, Secretary of the Royal Society16 June 1841
MC/3/175Draft letter from [Dr. Peter Mark Roget, Secretary of the Royal Society] to David Brewsterc. June 1841
MC/3/189Letter from Sir David Brewster, St Leonards, St Andrews, to Dr. [Peter Mark] Roget, [Secretary of the Royal Society]9 October 1841
PT/73/13/11Diagrams, concentric arches and curvilinear reflections by [David Brewster?][1830]
PT/73/16/2Drawing, lamina of cod eye by R K [Robert Kaye] Greville[1833]
PT/73/16/3Drawing, magnified lamina of cod eye by [Robert Kaye Greville][1833]
PT/74/3/5Drawing, spheroidal lens of salmon by R K [Robert Kaye] Greville[1835]
PT/74/3/6Drawing, perspective view of globe of fish eye by [Robert Kaye Greville][1835]
PT/74/3/7Drawing, surface of lens of eyes of Mammalia by R K [Robert Kaye] Greville[1835]
PT/74/3/8Drawing, surface of lens of eyes of Mammalia by R K [Robert Kaye] Greville[1835]
PT/74/3/9Drawing, lens of turtle by [Robert Kaye Greville][1835]
PT/74/3/10Drawing, lens of elephant by [Robert Kaye Greville][1835]
PT/74/3/11Drawing, lens of whales and seals by R K [Robert Kaye] Greville[1835]
PT/74/4/6Paintings, lenses of cows, sheep, and horses by [David Brewster?][1837]
MC/5/92Letter from D [David] Brewster, St Leonard's College, St Andrews, to C R [Charles Richard] Weld, [Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society]21 March 1853
MC/5/319Letter from A [Antoine] Claudet, Chateau de La Roche, Amboise, near Loire, to C R [Charles Richard] Weld, [Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society]29 November 1857
MC/6/123Letter from R [Robert] Angus Smith, 20 Grosvenor Square, Manchester, to C R [Charles Richard] Weld, [Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society]4 February 1861
MC/6/124Letter from R [Robert] Angus Smith, 20 Devonshire Street and 20 Grosvenor Square, Manchester, to C R [Charles Richard] Weld, [Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society]6 February 1861
MC/8/26Letter from Edward Sabine, President of the Royal Society, Burlington House, London, to Sir David Brewster9 March 1867
MC/8/49Letter from D [David] Brewster, Allerly, Melrose, to [Walter] White, [Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society]27 May 1867
MC/8/52Letter from D [David] Brewster, Allerly, Melrose, to [Walter] White, [Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society]5 June 1867
MC/8/91Letter from D [David] Brewster, Allerly, Melrose, to General [Edward] Sabine, [President of the Royal Society]10 October 1867
Add to My Items

    Collection highlights

    Browse the records of some of our collections, which cover all branches of science and date from the 12th century onwards. These include the published works of Fellows of the Royal Society, personal papers of eminent scientists, letters and manuscripts sent to the Society or presented at meetings, and administrative records documenting the Society's activities since our foundation in 1660.

    The Royal Society

    The Royal Society is a Fellowship of many of
    the world's most eminent scientists and is the
    oldest scientific academy in continuous existence.
    Registered charity number 207043

    Website design ©CalmView



    CONTACT US

    + 44 207 451 2500
    (Lines open Mon-Fri, 9:00-17:00. Excludes bank holidays)

    6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG

    Email Us →

    SUBSCRIBE

    Subscribe to our newsletters to be updated with the
    latest news on innovation, events, articles and reports.

    Subscribe →

    © CalmView