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Thomas Beddoes (1760-1808), Physician

Sitter in 2 portraits
Beddoes studied medicine in London and Edinburgh before taking up a lecturing post at Oxford University in 1788. His open adherence to radical politics cost him an endowed chair in Chemistry, and he was forced to resign under government pressure in 1792. Branded a dangerous and violent democrat he moved to Bristol, founding the short-lived Pneumatic Institution for Inhalation Gas Therapy in 1798, where his experiments with his assistant Humphry Davy were influential in advancing anesthesia techniques and remedies for respiratory disorders. Beddoes attacked the idea of self-medication and promoted greater public education on medicine, however, despite the support of many leading radicals his experiments were ridiculed and his career destroyed.

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Thomas Beddoes

by Sampson Towgood Roche
watercolour and bodycolour on ivory, 1794
NPG 5070


Thomas Beddoes

by Charles Warren, published by John Samuel Murray, after Edward Bird
line engraving, published 1810
NPG D8257