Record

Authorised form of nameClift; William (1775 - 1849); museum curator and scientific illustrator
Other forms of surnameCleft
Dates1775 - 1849
NationalityBritish
Place of birthBurcombe, near Bodmin, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, Europe
Date of birth14 February 1775
Place of deathStanhope Cottage, Mornington Crescent, Hampstead Road, London, England, United Kingdom, Europe
Date of death20 June 1849
Dates and placesBaptism:
Bodmin Parish Church, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, Europe (12 April 1775)
Burial:
Highgate Cemetery, London, England, United Kingdom, Europe
Research fieldComparative anatomy
Palaeontology
Geology
ActivityEducation:
Bodmin school (-1792)
Career:
Apprenticed to John Hunter (FRS 1767) as an anatomical assistant (1792) until Hunter's death in 1793; engaged by Hunter's executors to care for Hunterian collection (1793); appointed official conservator of the Hunterian Museum; published articles for Philosophical Transactions, the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, and Transactions of the Geological Society; compiled the 'Catalogue of the Hunterian Collection of the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of London' (1830-31)
Memberships:
Fellow of the Geological Society; Society for Animal Chemistry (1809 until its end in 1825)
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election08/05/1823
Age at election48
Royal Society activityRoyal Society roles:
Sworn in on 1 December 1832
Committee and panels:
Committee of Zoology and Animal Physiology (31 May 1838)
RelationshipsParents: Robert Clift and Joanna Coutts
Married: Caroline Amelia Pope
Children: William Home Clift; Caroline Amelia Clift
Additional relatives: son-in-law Sir Richard Owen (FRS 1834)
Published worksRCN: 50752
General contextThe Hunterian collection reportedly improved in quality under Clift's curatorship and was bought by the College of Surgeons England under request from Parliament in 1799. His artistic abilities in anatomical illustrations and his thorough approach to record-keeping put him in good stead with many fellow scientists and surgeons. A substantial part of his papers are now a part of the Natural History Museum's 'Owen papers' or in the holdings of the College of Surgeons. His diaries additionally give a detailed insight into the various aspects of the Hunterian Museum, College of Surgeons, and London scientific life of the period.
Royal Society Obituary or MemoirClick to view (may be contained within a meeting notice, presidential address or list of death notices)
Related imagesDiscover a selection of related images in our picture library
Image

Clift P0024.jpg

SourcesSources:
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; DSB; ODNB
Obituaries:
Proc Roy Soc 1849 No 74 pp 876-880
References:
Sir Harold Hartley, 'Richard Owen and William Clift' in NR 1953 vol 10 pp 60-62
N G Coley, 'The Animal Chemistry Club; Assistant Society to the Royal Society' in NR 1967 vol 22 pp 173-185
Virtual International Authority Filehttp://viaf.org/viaf/37721856
Royal Society codeNA7491
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
EC/1823/03Clift, William: certificate of election to the Royal Society
PT/3/19/2Plate, illustration of calculus by W [William] CliftSeptember 1808
P/0024Portrait of Clift, William
CB/1/3/73Letter from William Clift to Charles Blagden26 October 1819
PT/73/9/46Painting, human placenta by [William Clift][1822]
PT/73/3/17Drawing, solvent glands of birds by [William Clift][1812]
PT/73/9/55Painting, cow placenta by [William Clift]1822
PT/73/9/30Painting, seal skull by Willm [William] Clift1803
PT/73/9/52Painting, rat foetus and placenta by [William Clift]1822
PT/73/9/49Painting, cat foetus and placenta by [William Clift]1822
PT/73/9/50Paintings, rabbit placenta by [William Clift]1822
PT/73/3/16Drawing, 'Eagle [solvent gland]' by [William Clift]1812
PT/73/10/4Painting, Indian elephant eardrum by W [William] Clift[1822]
PT/73/1/22Painting, stomachs of the turtle and blue shark by [William Clift][1807]
PT/73/5/16Painting, fossilised ichthyosaur paddle and scapula by [William Clift]1816
MC/2/221Letter from William Clift, Royal College of Surgeons, Lincoln's Inn Fields, to John David Roberton, [Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society] 30 August 1836
RR/1/135Referee's report by William Clift, on a paper 'The anatomy and physiology of the liver' by Francis Kiernan [1833]
RR/1/182Referee's report by William Clift, on a paper 'On the secretion and uses of the bile' by Benjamin Phillips26 January 1833
L&P/12/99/2Plate, 'Deficient ovaria' by William Clift1805
L&P/12/27/8Plate, 'The penis of the drake, in its extended state' by William Clift1802
L&P/12/27/3Plate, 'Another species of Ornithorhynchus, 17 inches long, with small quills, about one inch long' by William Clift1802
L&P/12/27/4Plate, 'A view of the bill and throat, laid open, to show the tongue and palate' by William Clift1802
L&P/12/27/6Plate, 'The appearance of cuticular papillae on the internal membrane of the stomach, situated at the termination of the pylorus in the duodenum' by William Clift1802
L&P/10/106/5Plate, 'A view of the pelvis of the natural size' by William Clift1794
L&P/11/54/3Plate 'Longitudinal section of the human eye' by William Clift1798
L&P/12/138/4Plate, 'An internal view of the first stomach of the camel, exposed in the same manner as that of the bullock' by [William Clift]1806
L&P/12/138/3Plate, 'A posterior view of the first and second stomachs of the bullock unopened, and an internal view of the third and fourth stomachs, in their natural relative situation to the others' by [William Clift]1806
IM/000888Clift, Williamnd
PT/1/5/2Plate, 'First cavity of the stomach of the bottle-nose porpoise laid open to shew its internal structure' by [William Clift][1807]
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
CMP/1/1Minutes of a meeting of Council of the Royal Society1 December 1832
PT/73/10/14Painting, fossilised hyena jaw by [William Clift][1822]
CMP/1/2Minutes of a meeting of Council of the Royal Society13 December 1832
PT/1/5/3Plate, 'Internal surface of the second, third, and fourth cavities of the stomach' by [William Clift][1807]
PT/7/27i/2Plate, 'Internal view of the abdominal muscles of the boa constrictor' by William Clift[1812]
PT/73/1/2Painting, 'Cod fish. Internal view' by [William Clift][1807]
PT/2/19/2Plate, 'The stomach of the male wombat inverted immediately after death and distended with air' by [William Clift][1808]
PT/73/3/3Painting, vertebrae and ribs of a boa constrictor by [William Clift]1812
PT/3/19/3Plate, illustration of cavity within calculus by W [William] CliftSeptember 1808
PT/4/8/3Plate, 'The gizzard of a swan [laid open on its anterior part]' by W [William] Clift[1810]
PT/4/8/2Plate, 'The gizzard of a turkey laid open on its anterior part' by W [William] Clift[1810]
MC/1/108Letter from William Clift, Lincoln's Inn Fields, to James Lee7 April 1824
PT/73/3/5Painting, 'Soland goose' by [William Clift][1812]
PT/7/27i/1Plate, 'Lateral view of the muscles of the boa constrictor' by William Clift[1812]
MC/1/132Letter from William Clift, Royal College of Surgeons, Lincoln's Inn Fields, to the Royal Society 7 June 1825
MC/1/134Letter from William Clift, Royal College of Surgeons, Lincoln's Inn Fields, to Stephen Lee, Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society5 August 1825
PT/8/29/2Plate, 'Side view of the skull and the two jaws' by W [William] Clift[1814]
PT/9/7Paper, 'Experiments to ascertain the influence of the spinal marrow on the action of the heart in fishes' by William Clift[1815]
PT/8/29/3Plate, 'Continuation of the chain of vertebrae' by W [William] Clift[1814]
PT/8/29/4Plate, 'Portions of ribs imbedded in blue lias' by W [William] Clift[1814]
PT/8/29/5Plate, 'Three vertebrae sawn through in a longitudinal direction to shew the intervertebral cavities which are filled with blue lias' by W [William] Clift[1814]
PT/9/16/4Plate, 'The same parts in the myxine' by William Clift[1815]
PT/9/16/2Plate, 'A view of a portion of the lamprey of the natural size, the organs of respiration exposed' by William Clift[1815]
PT/9/17/2Plate, 'A lamprey of the natural size laid open, to show the ovarium at the time the eggs begin to be shed; a portion of the ovarium and testicle of the natural size' by William Clift[1815]
PT/73/3/6Drawing, cardiac cavities and gizzards of birds by [William Clift][1812]
PT/9/16/5Plate, 'Back view of the Aphrodita aculeata' by William Clift[1815]
PT/9/16/6Plate, 'The respiratory organs [of the Aphrodita aculeata] laid bare by removing the skin and muscles of the back' by William Clift[1815]
PT/73/6/23Painting, human stomach by W [William] Clift[1817]
PT/12/3/2Plate, 'The different parts that compose the sternum, in the fossil animal' and 'The corresponding bones in the ornithorhynchus paradoxus' by W [William] Clift[1818]
PT/12/3/3Plate, 'The representation of a fossil bone of the natural size, which appears to belong to the same animal' by W [William] Clift[1818]
PT/12/24/2Plate, various specimens and cross-sections of fangs by [William Clift][1818]
PT/73/8/22Painting, dugong caecum by [William Clift][1820]
PT/15/18/3Plate, 'Stomach of a rhinoceros from Sumatra inverted' by Wm [William] Clift[1821]
PT/15/18/2Plate, 'Skeleton of a female dugong' by Wm [William] Clift[1821]
PT/15/18/5Plate, 'The skull of the tapir from Sumatra' by Wm [William] Clift[1821]
PT/15/18/6Plate, 'The skull of the tapir from America' by Wm [William] Clift[1821]
PT/15/28/3Plate, manatee skeleton by Wm [William] Clift[1821]
PT/15/28/4Plate, 'Stomach. Manati.' by Wm [William] Clift[1821]
PT/15/28/2Plate, watercolour of manatee to scale by Wm [William] Clift[1821]
PT/15/28/5Plate, 'Caecum, Manati.' by Wm [William] Clift[1821]
PT/9/16/3Plate, '[Respiratory] organs exposed in the animal from the South Seas and one of the bags or organs laid open' by William Clift[1815]
PT/7/27i/3Plate, draft of 'Internal view of the abdominal muscles of the boa constrictor' by William Clift[1812]
MC/2Volume 2 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1832-1838
PT/9/16/7Plate, 'The Hirudo medicinalis laid open from behind, the stomach removed, exposing the respiratory organs' by William Clift[1815]
PT/73/1Illustrations produced for the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, volume 97 1807
PT/73/10/9Painting, fossilised metatarsal bone of a bos by [William Clift][1822]
MC/1Volume 1 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1800-1831
PT/73/1/10Painting, view of a donkey's stomach inverted by [William Clift][1807]
PT/73/1/1Painting, 'Turkey's gizzard' by [William Clift] 1807
PT/73/1/3Painting, 'Deer. Second cavity of the stomach' by [William Clift][1807]
PT/73/1/4Painting, 'Internal view. Natural size. Hare' by [William Clift][1807]
PT/73/1/5Painting, 'External view. Natural size. Rabbit' by [William Clift][1807]
PT/73/1/6Painting, 'Internal view. Natural size. Beaver' by W [William] Clift [1807]
PT/73/2Illustrations produced for the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, volume 99 1809
PT/73/1/7Painting, 'Beaver glands' by [William Clift][1807]
PT/73/1/8Painting, 'Dormouse [stomach]' by [William Clift]1807
PT/73/1/11Painting, 'Internal view...Kanguroo' by [William Clift][1807]
PT/73/1/12Painting, 'Hog. Internal view' by [William Clift][1807]
PT/73/1/13Painting, 'Elephant. Internal view' by [William Clift][1807]
PT/73/1/15Painting, 'Human [stomach] to show the glands and contraction' by [William Clift][1807]
PT/73/1/17Painting, 'English long-eared bat [stomach]. Vespertilio auritus' by [William Clift][1807]
PT/73/1/18Painting, 'Lynx [stomach]' by [William Clift]29 April 1807
PT/73/1/19Painting, 'Hawk [stomach] natural size' by [William Clift][1807]
PT/73/2/1Painting, vertebrae of Squalus maximus [basking shark] by [William Clift][1809]
PT/73/1/21Painting, 'Frog [stomach]' by [William Clift][1807]
PT/73/1/20Painting, 'Viper [stomach]' by [William Clift][1807]
PT/73/1/14Painting, 'Cormorant's stomach' by [William Clift][1807]
PT/7/27iPlates, from 'Observations intended to show that the progressive motion of snakes is partly performed by means of the ribs' by Everard Home[1812]
PT/73/3/9Painting, 'Little auk [gizzard]' by [William Clift]1812
PT/73/3/13Painting, 'African ostrich [gizzard]' by [William Clift]1812
PT/73/9/54Painting, cow placenta by [William Clift]1822
PT/73/10/6Paintings, eardrums of cattle, deer, and hare by W [William] Clift[1822]
PT/73/6/1Painting, heart and associated organs of the Sepia officinalis [common cuttlefish] by [William Clift][1816]
PT/73/9/53Painting, guinea pig foetus and placenta by [William Clift]1822
PT/73/3/7Painting, 'Woodpecker [gizzard]' by [William Clift]1812
PT/73/4/19Painting, heart of Lophius piscatorius [angler fish] by [William Clift] [1813]
PT/73/10/3Paintings, human eardrums by W [William] Clift[1822]
PT/73/9/51Painting, hedgehog foetus and placenta by [William Clift]1822
PT/73/5/8Painting, Lacerta gecko by [William Clift] [1816]
PT/73/6/2Painting, heart and associated organs of the Sepia officinalis [common cuttlefish] by [William Clift][1816]
PT/73/5/17Painting, 'Squalus acanthias' [spiny dogfish, scapula and pectoral fin] by W [William] Clift[1816]
PT/73/5/18Painting, fossilised ichthyosaur paddle by [William Clift][1816]
PT/73/10/15Painting, fossilised hyena skull by [William Clift][1822]
PT/73/9/31Painting, Orkney seal skull by Willm [William] Clift1803
PT/73/6/4Painting, Lumbricus marinus [lugworm] dissected by [William Clift][1816]
PT/73/6/3Painting, Lumbricus marinus [lugworm] by [William Clift][1816]
PT/73/6/5Painting, Lumbricus marinus [lugworm] dissected by [William Clift][1816]
PT/73/6/6Painting, Lumbricus terrestris [earthworm] dissected by [William Clift][1816]
PT/73/8/12Painting, dugong skull and tusk by W H [William Home] Clift[1820]
PT/73/9/56Paintings, deer, sheep, and goat placenta details by [William Clift][1822]
PT/73/9/32Painting, New Georgia seal skull by Wm [William] Clift1822
PT/73/9/47Painting, monkey placenta by [William Clift]1822
PT/73/9/45Painting, human placenta by [William Clift][1822]
PT/73/9/48Painting, monkey placenta by [William Clift]1822
PT/73/8/14Painting, lower jaw and teeth of a dugong by W H [William Home] Clift[1820]
PT/73/8/26Painting, dugong sternum by [William Clift][1820]
PT/73/8/23Painting, dugong heart by [William Clift][1820]
PT/73/8/13Painting, dugong skull and tusks by W H [William Home] Clift[1820]
PT/73/8/16Painting, nasal bones of the proteosaurus [ichthyosaur] by [William Clift][1820]
PT/73/8/24Painting, dugong respiratory system by [William Clift][1820]
PT/73/8/18Painting, Sumatra dugong by [William Clift][1820]
PT/73/8/21Painting, dugong tongue by [William Clift][1820]
PT/73/8/20Painting, gastric glands of the dugong by [William Clift][1820]
PT/73/8/19Painting, stomach of the dugong by [William Clift][1820]
PT/73/8/27Painting, dugong pelvic bones by [William Clift][1820]
PT/73/8/25Painting, dugong sexual organs by [William Clift][1820]
PT/73/1/16Painting, 'Vampyre bat [stomach]' by [William Clift][1807]
PT/73/9/2Painting, fossilised rhinoceros horn by [William Clift][1821]
PT/73/9/3Painting, fossilised rhinoceros skull by W H [William Home] Clift[1821]
PT/73/1/9Painting, 'Water-rat [stomach]' by [William Clift][1807]
PT/73/10/16Painting, fossilised hyena jaw by [William Clift][1822]
PT/73/9/21Paintings and drawings, fossilised teeth of elephant and rhinoceros by [Mary Morland, William Clift, and Thomas Webster][1822]
PT/73/3/14Drawing, 'Solvent glands [African ostrich gizzard]' by [William Clift]1812
PT/73/3/8Painting, 'Larus canus [common gull gizzard]' by [William Clift]1812
PT/73/3/10Painting, 'Parrot [gizzard]' by William Clift1812
PT/73/9/22Paintings and drawing, fossilised teeth of rhinoceros and horse by [Mary Morland, William Clift, and Thomas Webster][1822]
PT/73/5/9Paintings, feet of the Lacerta gecko and the house-fly and the gripping organ of the suckerfish by [William Clift] [1816]
PT/73/9/1Painting, rhinoceros skull by W [William] Clift27 August 1821
PT/73/10/8Painting, rock face at Oreston by [William Clift][1822]
PT/73/10/5Painting, Indian elephant eardrum and mastoid cells by W [William] Clift[1822]
PT/73/10/13Painting, fossilised horse foot by [William Clift][1822]
PT/16/10Paper, 'A description of the fossil bones found by Mr Whidbey in the caverns of Oreston, referred to in the foregoing paper' by William Clift[1823]
PT/73/10/10Paintings, fossilised wolf jawbone by [William Clift][1822]
PT/73/10/11Painting, fossilised horn core of a bos by [William Clift][1822]
PT/73/10/12Painting, fossilised metacarpal bones of a bos by [William Clift][1822]
PT/73/10/17Painting, fossilised wolf jaw by [William Clift][1822]
PT/73/7/13Painting, fossilised skull of the proteo-saurus [ichthyosaur] by [William Clift][1819]
PT/73/3/2Painting, internal section of the auditory structures in Balaena mysticetus [bowhead whale] by Wm [William] Clift1811
MC/5/331Letter from [Caroline Amelia] Owen, Sheen Lodge, Richmond Park, to [Lord Wrottesley], President of the Royal Society and to the Council8 February 1858
MS/426/621Copy letter from W [William] Sharpey, Secretary of the Royal Society; to Mrs [Prain?], Richmond5 March 1858
IM/000887Clift, Williamnd
MC/5Volume 5 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1851-1858
PT/73/3/11Painting, 'American ostrich [rhea gizzard]' by [William Clift]1812
PT/73/3/1Painting, external view of the anatomy of hearing in Balaena mysticetus [bowhead whale] by W [William] Clift1811
PT/73/3/12Painting, 'Rhea americana [gizzard]' by [William Clift]1812
PT/73/5/15Painting, fossilised ichthyosaur vertebra by [William Clift][1816]
PT/73/3/15Painting, 'Struthio camelus [African ostrich gizzard]' by [William Clift]1812
PT/73/8/15Painting, fossilised skull and jaws of the proteosaurus [ichthyosaur] by [William Clift][1820]
PT/73/10/7Painting, 'A longitudinal section of the caverns lately discovered in the breakwater quarries at Oreston' by W C [William Clift]12 August 1822
PT/73/9/23Paintings, fossilised teeth of hippopotamus by M [Mary] Morland, W [William] Clift, and T [Thomas] Webster[1822]
PT/73/9/20Paintings and drawings, fossilised teeth of hyena, bear, tiger, fox, wolf, and weasel by M [Mary] Morland, W [William] Clift, and T [Thomas] Webster1822
RR/1/53Referee's report by William Clift, on a paper 'On the male organs of some of the cartilaginous fishes' by John Davy12 June 1839
L&P/12/138/6Plate, 'The directions of the muscular fibres which run upon the orifices and sides of the cells in the first and second stomachs of the camel' by [William Clift]1806
L&P/12/27/5Plate, 'A section of the nose and skull, to show the peculiarities of the organ of smell, and the shape of the cavity of the skull, in which the bony falx met with in the paradoxus is wanting' by William Clift1802
L&P/12/138/5Plate, 'A posterior view of the first stomach of the camel unopened, and an internal view of the second, third, and fourth stomachs, in their relative situation to the first, similar to the view given of the stomachs of the bullock' by [William Clift]1806
L&P/10/100/2Plate, 'Portions of the four straight muscles of the eye, with their tendons insensibly lost in the external lamina of the cornea, stretched out and dried' by W[illiam] Clift1794
L&P/11/54/2Plate, 'A transverse section of the human eye immediately behind the iris' by William Clift1798
L&P/12/27/2Plate, 'A figure of the Ornithorhynchus Hystrix, (on a scale of half an inch to an inch,) to show its general appearance, but more particularly its cuticular bil' by William Clift1802
L&P/12/27/7Plate, 'The penis and testicles in their relative situation, to show the urethra for the passage of the urine, and that for the semen' by William Clift1802
L&P/12/138/2Plate, 'Longitudinal section of the first stomach of the bullock, showing its cavity, which is made up of two compartments, separated from each other by two strong transverse ridges, composed of a mixture of ligamentous and muscular fibres' by [William Clift]1806
L&P/12/78/5Plate, 'A back view of the neck, in its expanded state; the external skin being dissected off, and turned aside, to show the muscles which raise the ribs, and bring the skin forwards towards the head' by William Clift1804
L&P/12/78/6Plate, 'A front view of the neck ; the parts are dissected, to show the mode in which the ribs lie in their depressed state, also the muscles by which they are depressed, and those which bring the skin back into its natural state' by William Clift1804
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