- Museum number
- Object: Chemical Lectures
A young man, [Friedrich Christian Accum (1769-1838) misidentified by Dorothy George as] Humphrey Davy (1778-1829), stands on a platform in a crowded lecture-room, circular in shape, an arc of the wall being shown. He pours liquid from a kettle into a beaker. His table is covered with similar beakers, a tiny retort, &c. Behind him is a door inscribed 'Surrey Institution'. The absorbed audience consists chiefly of pretty women in evening dress and ugly and elderly men. Men are seated on the platform; one is standing. In the foreground (left) a much caricatured elderly man in old-fashioned dress and bag-wig leans forward on his stick, registering anguished jealousy. In his pocket is a book: 'Accum's Lectures' .... Spectators look down from a balcony immediately above the platform.
- Production date
- 1810 (circa)
Height: 247 millimetres
Width: 336 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The lecturer is identified by Ann Payne (email communication, December 2008). She notes that he is lecturing at the Surrey Institution and gives references to John Hayes, "A Catalogue of the Watercolour Drawings by Thomas Rowlandson in the London Museum" (1960), no.20, where the watercolour is inscribed "Mr Acchum, Professor of Chemistry/Lecturing at the Surry Institution 1809", and R.Burgess, 'Humphry Davy or Friedrich Accum? A question of identification', Medical History , vol.16, pt 3, 1972, pp.290-293.
For Accum's trade card, see Banks 35.2
John Ford (email communication, April 2009) points out that the heavily built man in the striped waistcoat to Accum's right bears a strong resemblance to the publisher Rudolph Ackermann, a supporter of Accum, patron of, and donor to the Surrey Institute; he was a friend and publisher of Rowlandson and a practical student of chemistry.
(Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VIII, 1947)
Attributed by Grego to c. 1820, but certainly earlier. Accum published lectures in 1809 and 1810. He was appointed chemistry lecturer at the Surrey Institution in 1803. For Davy see No. 9923.
Grego, ii. 366.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1989/90 Nov-Jan, Glasgow City AG, World of Thomas Rowlandson
1990 Jan-Mar, Leicester City AG, World of Thomas Rowlandson
1990/1 Nov-Jan, Maidstone Museum, World of Thomas Rowlandson
1991 Jan-Mar, Swansea, Glynn Vivian AG, World of Thomas Rowlandson
2014 May-Oct, Hannover, Lower Saxony State Museum, 'Hanoverians'
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Acquired by exchange with Mr Burger
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number