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Edward Jenner (1749–1823)

Photo credit: Royal College of Physicians, London

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Edward Jenner (1749–1823) is well known because of his pioneering work on developing a vaccination for smallpox, which in the eighteenth century killed hundreds of thousands of people across Europe. Jenner was interested in the common belief that people who had had cowpox could not catch smallpox, and he experimented by inoculating a small child first with the cowpox virus, and then with smallpox; the child was immune. Jenner received his medical training from the famous teacher John Hunter, whose experimental approach inspired Jenner to undertake the vaccination. Following Jenner’s discovery, large-scale vaccination programmes were carried out throughout Europe, Russia and the United States. In Britain vaccination clinics were opened and in 1803 the Royal Jennerian Society was formed, with Jenner as president. Smallpox was globally eradicated in 1979.

Royal College of Physicians, London

London


Date

1809

Medium

oil on canvas

Measurements

H 74.2 x W 61.5 cm

Accession number

X219

Acquisition method

gift from W. H. Baillie, 1895

Work type

Painting


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Normally on display at

Royal College of Physicians, London

11 St Andrew's Place, Regent's Park, London, Greater London NW1 4LE England

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