Alexander Morison

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Sir Alexander Morison M.D. (1779–1866) was a Scottish physician and alienist.

Alexander Morison, 1852 portrait by Richard Dadd, a patient

Life[edit]

Morison was born 1 May 1779 at Anchorfield, near Edinburgh, and was educated at Edinburgh high school and the University of Edinburgh, where he graduated M.D. on 12 September 1799. He became a licentiate of the Edinburgh College of Physicians in 1800 and a fellow in 1801.[1]

For a time, Morison practised in Edinburgh, but during 1808 he moved to London; on 11 April that year he was admitted a licentiate of the College of Physicians of London, and 10 July 1841 he was elected a fellow. He was appointed inspecting physician of lunatic asylums in Surrey in 1810, and 7 May 1835 physician to Bethlehem Hospital. He was physician to Charlotte, Princess Royal, and was knighted in 1838.[1]

Morison gave an annual course of lectures on mental diseases - commemorated in the Morisonian Lectures of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh - and became a recognised authority on this subject. A lifelong restlessness seems to have haunted Morison's career - as a child he repeatedly ran away from school in Edinburgh (on one occasion as far as to Arbroath harbour) - and, as an adult, he excited astonishment with his regular, exhausting rides between London and Edinburgh, lecturing in both cities. A remarkable portrait of Morison was created by the psychotic Victorian artist Richard Dadd in 1852 - incorporating images of Anchorfield created by Morison's sisters. Morison died in Scotland on 14 March 1866, and was buried at Currie.[1] His death was marked by an extraordinary tribute from William A.F. Browne, the President of the Medico-Psychological Association in the course of his 1866 Presidential Address, in which he linked Morison's achievements with those of John Conolly, who had died only a few days earlier.

Works[edit]

Morison's graduation thesis was De Hydrocephalo Phrenitico, and he became specialist in cerebral diseases and mental illness. He published in 1826 Outlines of Lectures on Mental Diseases, and in 1828 Cases of Mental Disease, with Practical Observations on the Medical Treatment. In 1840 he published The Physiognomy of Mental Diseases, with illustrations including one of Jonathan Martin the arsonist.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1892). "Morison, Alexander". Dictionary of National Biography 31. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
Attribution

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainLee, Sidney, ed. (1892). "Morison, Alexander". Dictionary of National Biography 31. London: Smith, Elder & Co.