MARTIN, John (1789–1854), artist. ALS to Dr John Elliotson 1837


MARTIN, John (1789–1854), artist. ALS to Dr John Elliotson 1837

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MARTIN, John (1789–1854), artist. Autograph letter signed to Dr Elliotson, 1 side, 8vo, 30 Allsop Terrace [London], May 7th 1837, presenting him with proof copies of his engravings Death of the First Born and Destroying Angel "as some mark of my friendship & the remembrance I shall never cease to entertain of your kind & valuable attentions". The reverse has old mounting gum marks.

The recipient of Martin's letter was John Elliotson (1791–1868), senior physician at University College Hospital and an exponent of mesmerism. His serious involvement with mesmerism dated from the autumn of 1837 when, after observing the work of the French mesmeric demonstrator Baron J. E. Dupotet he began to mesmerize patients in his own wards at University College Hospital. He achieved both ‘excellent cures’ and ‘striking phenomena’. However, in August 1838 the editor of The Lancet, Thomas Wakley, thought he had caught the sisters in deliberate trickery, and strongly attacked Elliotson. Elliotson responded with equal force. Further controversies ensued, and in December 1838 the hospital committee forbade the practice of mesmerism on the wards. Elliotson resigned from both the hospital and the college the following month (ODNB).

Elliotson was a close friend of Martin as well as his doctor, and was a great admirer of his work. The proof engravings that Martin sent him were mezzotints for his series Illustrations of the Bible published 1831-1835.

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