Edward Lister (1556–1620) was from a family of distinguished physicians. He was born at Wakefield, in Yorkshire, and educated at Eton. He then studied at King’s College, Cambridge, and earned his MD in 1590. He became a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London, in 1594, and later held several posts there, including treasurer. Lister was physician-in-ordinary to Elizabeth I and James I.
The portrait was originally thought to be of Martin Lister, a descendent of Edward’s, according to a slip inserted in the office copy of the RCP’s catalogue. It cannot be Martin Lister, however, as the costume of the sitter dates earlier, to the late-sixteenth century. The most probable identity of the sitter is therefore Edward Lister.
Where to see this painting?
Royal College of Physicians, London
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