Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait miniature of Samuel Haworth (b. 1659), c.1683 

Robert White (1645-1703)

Portrait miniature of Samuel Haworth (b. 1659), c.1683, Robert White
Gouache on Vellum
17th Century
Oval, 3 1/8 in. (78 mm.) high
Christie’s, London, 9th November 1993, lot 1 (as ‘Unknown Gentleman’); Sotheby’s, London, 14th July 2010, lot 42 (as ‘Unknown Gentleman’).
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This plumbago portrait of Samuel Haworth is almost certainly the original drawing for an engraving, printed as the frontispiece of the sitter’s book True Method of Curing Consumptions in 1683. Samuel Haworth was a controversial empirical physician and writes in his 1683 publication that he had experienced several attacks from rival physicians for his practise.

Haworth was born in St Albans, the son of William, a vicar at St Peter’s church, and Mary Haworth. In 1677 he supposedly enrolled at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University as a sizar but there is no reference to him being enrolled on a degree. By 1680 he was practising medicine in London and was licenced by the Royal College of Physicians. That same year he published Anthropologia which, although knowledgeable in citing ancient and modern medical publications, showed little practical experiment or experience. At his practice he began treating people with consumption using a secret, personally-developed nostrum which, incredibly, proved so successful that it caught the attention of Charles II, who asked Haworth to use it on his guard Kennedy O’Brian.
From 1682 he spent some time practicing medicine in Paris where he supposedly received a MD degree – these letters are additionally inscribed on the 1683 engraving by White. The following year he dedicated A Description of the Duke’s Bagnio to the Duke of York, a literary work describing a newly opened Turkish bath and medicinal which Haworth helped to establish in Covent Garden. As Haworth’s questionable medical reputation grew, debates over his practise began to arise at the College of Physicians and one fellow, Richard Darnelly, accused him of practising illegally. After this period in Haworth’s life, little else is known about him and the College of Physicians never pursued Darnelly’s accusations.
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