"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

William Osler

This 1914 charcoal portrait of William Osler (1849-1919) by John Singer Sargent appeared in the Portraits in Charcoal exhibit of Sargent drawings at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. It belongs to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.
The Canadian physician William Osier transformed medical education on both sides of the Atlantic. In 1889, he was appointed physician-in-chief at the recently founded Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he helped create the university's school of medicine.

Oster introduced the now-standard U.S. system of internships and residencies, which augments theoretical study with firsthand experience at the patient's bedside. He became a friend of Sargent's in 1905, after sitting for the artist's monumental group portrait of important physicians.

Osler was also a prolific author, book collector, and supporter of libraries in North America and Great Britain. His most famous book, The Principles and Practice of Medicine (1892) served as a standard reference work for many decades. Translated into six languages, it established Osler as the world's leading authority in the teaching of modern medicine. His personal library forms the nucleus of McGill University's Osier Library of the History of Medicine. -- NPG

Lady Osler persuaded Sargent to  make a copy of the drawing which was presented by Professor William S. Thayer to Johns Hopkins in 1915. On that occasion, it appeared in Popular Science Monthly, Feb. 1915  along with a speech by Professor Thayer. 

The photo below is said to represent a 1906 painting by John Singer Sargent. (Welcome Collection.) It appears to be a detail of Sargent's Four Doctors, the monumental group portrait mentioned above.

William Henry Welch, William Stewart Halsted, William Osler, and Howard Atwood Kelly

The Welcome Collection also has this 1896 Photogravure by M. Brödel of Sir William Osler as “The Saint.” 

W O '90
Beech Tree into which Osler Carved his Initials
at Little Gillians, Croxley Green, snapshot by H. J. Shirley Jan. 10, 1921,

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