Dr George Witt (Biographical details)

Dr George Witt (medical; collector; British; Male; 1804 - 1869)

Also known as

Witt, George


22 Prince's Terrace, Hyde Park, London (1854-69)


Physician and collector. His collection of natural history and antiquities was part-acquired by Bedford Literary and Scientific Institute in 1849, prior to him leaving England for Australia. The Witt collection, as it was called, was first integrated into Bedford's library museum and then possibly went to the Bedford modern school, en route to the Bedford Museum. He returned to England in 1854, having made a fortune in banking and speculation, and began his collection of antiquities and objects associated with ancient cults, in particular the cult of Priapus, the god of fertility. The collection contained fertility symbols from the ancient world as well as votive or amuletic objects, dedicated to saints or gods in the hope of protection. He presented his collection to the BM in 1865, following an illness the same year. The collection covers many cultures and many periods; the objects are to be found in the relative departments. Witt's scrapbooks are now kept in the Central Library.


Gaimster, David. 'Witt, George (1804-1869)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/74100]