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Sir Henry Halford (1766–1844)

Image credit: Royal College of Physicians, London

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Described by Lord Grey as ‘the damnest conceited fellow in the world’, Sir Henry Halford (1766–1844) was a physician opposed to the physical examination of patients. However, he enjoyed a life in high society after marrying into the aristocracy, and he became physician to George III and attended George IV, William IV and Queen Victoria. Halford was famous for curing diseases and was highly regarded by colleagues. He became president of the Royal College of Physicians in 1820, keeping this position for an unprecedented 24 years.

The portrait is by Sir Thomas Lawrence, a leading English portrait painter and president of the Royal Academy. In the portrait Halford wears the star of a Knight Commander of the Hanoverian Order, an order of chivalry awarded to him by George IV on the morning of the opening of the Royal College of Physician’s new building in Pall Mall, London, on 25 June 1825.

Royal College of Physicians, London



Sir Henry Halford (1766–1844)




oil on canvas


H 142.2 x W 111.8 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

bequeathed by Sir Henry St John Halford, 1897

Work type



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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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