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Daniel Lambert (1770–1809), Weighing almost 40 Stone

Photo credit: Wellcome Collection

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Daniel Lambert has been called 'the most corpulent man of whom authentic record exists'. He was born in the parish of St Margaret in Leicester on 13 March 1770. After taking over his father's post as Leicester gaoler in 1791, his size and weight started to increase enormously. By 1793 he weighed 32 stone although he was very strong and active, only drank water, and slept for less than eight hours a day. In 1805 he resigned his post at the prison to turn his amazing stature to profit by exhibiting himself all over England. He became a national celebrity. According to one description, 'When sitting he appears to be a stupendous mass of flesh, for his thighs are so covered by his belly that nothing but his knees are to be seen, while the flesh of his legs, which resemble pillows, projects in such a manner as to nearly bury his feet.

Wellcome Collection



19th C


oil on canvas


H 71 x W 60 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased by Henry S. Wellcome, c.1900–1936

Work type



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Wellcome Collection

183 Euston Road, London, Greater London NW1 2BE England

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