John Abercrombie was born in Aberdeen, the son of a Parish minister. He graduated with an MA from Marischal College and then went on to study medicine at Edinburgh, obtaining an MD in 1803. He was then a postgraduate student at St George's Hospital, London, becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1804.
Abercrombie decided on the career of a general practitioner and put up his plate in Nicolson Street, Edinburgh. He was appointed surgeon to the Royal Public Dispensary, an institution founded by Andrew Duncan, senior, for the free medical care of the sick poor and the training of students in general practice. At the Dispensary he conducted a 'poliklinik'. In the early nineteenth century there was no systematic teaching of pathology in any of the Scottish universities and such was Abercrombie's interest in research that he carried out autopsies in his practice. He became a Fellow of the College in 1823 and later Physician to George IV in Scotland. Oxford gave him the degree of Doctor of Medicine.
Where to see this painting?
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
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