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John Thomson-Walker

Prints of great medical men.

Sir John William Thomson-Walker (1871-1937), surgeon and print-collector, formed this outstanding collection of engraved portraits of medical men. Born in Newport, Fife, Thomson Walker was educated at the Edinburgh Institution and the University of Edinburgh, graduating MB ChB in 1894 before going to postgraduate study in Vienna. He set up in Harley Street as a consultant at King's College and St Peter's Hospitals, becoming one of the leading urologists of his day. In 1907 he was appointed a Hunterial Professor of the Royal College of Surgeons, and was knighted in 1922. He held a number of visiting Lectureships, and was elected President of the Medical Society of London in 1933.

Print collecting was a lifelong passion. In his will Thomson-Walker bequeathed his prints to the University, “in the hope of encouraging the study of the history of medicine on which this great medical school has had such a profound and lasting influence”. This collection includes some 2,500 prints and a number of books on the art and technique of engraving. The collection came to the Library in 1939. An index to the prints is available for consultation in the Centre for Research Collections; the books are not kept together but all are catalogued online.