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Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853–1936)

© the artist's estate. Photo credit: Wellcome Collection

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Henry S. Wellcome was born to a poor family of farmers in Almond, Wisconsin, in 1853. On his death in 1936 he brought into being a British charity, the Wellcome Trust, which many years later became the most highly endowed charity in the world, with a capital of 15 billion pounds. He owed this achievement to his success as a pharmaceutical manufacturer and salesman. He trained as a pharmacist at Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, and in 1880 went to England to join his college friend S. Mainville Burroughs in a new pharmaceutical company called Burroughs, Wellcome & Co. After Burroughs died in 1895, Wellcome became sole owner of the company, and used his wealth to fund many charitable projects, including libraries, laboratories and museums. His own historical collection forms the nucleus of the present Wellcome Library in London, and the Wellcome Building in London's Euston Road was built by him in 1932 to display it.

Wellcome Collection



Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853–1936)




oil on canvas


H 61.5 x W 51 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

commissioned by the sitter

Work type


Inscription description

HRiviere 1906


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Wellcome Collection

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

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