The pathological drawings around which this collection are
based were discovered in Dundee University in the early 1990's. All 63 original
watercolours feature the signature of Neil Stewart [the artist] and feature commentary
by William Tennant Gairdner. The majority of the watercolours are dated between 1848 and
Stewart was primarily a Botanist and was a member of many learned societies, including
the Botanical Society of Edinburgh. He died on 8/12/1875 in his sixty-first year. Stewart
excelled as a botanical draughtsman in the illustration of natural history subjects. He
executed a large number of botanical drawings for the Botanical classes in the Universities
of Glasgow and Edinburgh and for a number of years was the elected artist to the Botanical
Society of Edinburgh, of which he became an Associate in 1850.
William Tennant Gairdner studied medicine at Edinburgh in the 1840's, gaining good reports
and coming to work in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Gairdner applied for the post of pathologist
to the ERI in 1848. This meant he became responsible for the "Edinburgh Pathology Register", a
series of large leather bound volumes that recorded the findings from every post-mortem examination.
Throughout his career he progressed rapidly, from Clerk to Infirmary Pathologist and finally, to
Physician. His last appointment was to the Chair of Medicine at Glasgow University, and it was while
in this position that he received his Knighthood.
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