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Sir William Browne (1692–1774)

Image credit: Royal College of Physicians, London

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Sir William Browne (1692–1774) practiced medicine in Norfolk for 30 years before moving to London, where he became president of the Royal College of Physicians in 1726. He was eccentric, but earned a small fortune. Unfortunately his strong feelings, extraordinary garrulity and lack of discretion caused offence at the College, which at this time was in the middle of a violent dispute between the College and the licentiates (those holding a degree from the College). Browne was an energetic defender of the exclusive privileges of English universities, and published controversial pamphlets for which he was heavily criticised by his contemporaries. The actor and playwright Samuel Foote caricatured Browne on stage in a farce called 'The Devil on Two Sticks'.

Royal College of Physicians, London



Sir William Browne (1692–1774)




oil on canvas


H 241.3 x W 146.1 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift from the sitter, 1767

Work type



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Royal College of Physicians, London

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

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