Sir Samuel Wilks (1824–1911)

Image credit: Royal College of Physicians, London

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Sir Samuel Wilks (1824–1911) made his name by recognising the importance of pathology. He qualified in medicine in 1847, and began a long relationship with Guy’s Hospital, London. After working briefly as a general practitioner, he decided to become a consultant and in 1853 he became physician to the Surrey Dispensary. There he was able to confirm the separate identity of typhoid and typhus fevers, newly established by Edward Jenner. Wilks wrote and lectured widely on pathology, and held prestigious positions including fellow of the Royal Society, president of the Pathological Society and president of the Royal College of Physicians. In 1897 he was made baronet and physician-extraordinary to Queen Victoria.

Wilks was a man who spoke his mind and disliked the adulation of obituaries, once remarking, ‘I wonder if any medical man ever died who did not possess all virtues’.

Royal College of Physicians, London



Sir Samuel Wilks (1824–1911)




oil on canvas


H 127 x W 101.6 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift from the staff of Guy's Hospital, 1910

Work type



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