Anthony Colling Brownless (1817-1897), late Physician to the Royal General Dispensary and to the Metropolitan Dispensary

Thomas H Maguire (b.1821, d.1895)
Lithograph by Thomas H. Maguire of Anthony Colling Brownless (1817-1897) standing with his hand on his hip and wearing a scarf cravat.

Thomas H Maguire’s portrait of Dr Anthony Colling Brownless (1817–1897) is dated 1850, two years before its subject emigrated to Melbourne, and twelve years before he was to found the Melbourne Medical School. The picture deserves a special place in our collection not just because Brownless founded the school, but because it was made before providence found him and cast him in the role of formative influence on the future of medical teaching, research and practice and the University of Melbourne.
In 1850 Brownless was about thirty-three and would have had little comprehension of the life awaiting him in distant Melbourne, Australia. His medical tuition had been protracted for the era, commencing in 1834 with an apprenticeship
and postponed repeatedly due to illness and trips abroad to regain his health, until he graduated in 1841. His surgical training at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London and a few years’ practice were followed by postgraduate work in Liège, an MD at St Andrew’s Hospital then election to the Metropolitan Dispensary, Fore Street, and Royal General Dispensary, Aldersgate Street. Illness still dogged him though, forcing first his withdrawal from private practice and then, in 1852, his emigration to Australia: to Melbourne, of course, on the cusp of gold fever.
When he died in 1897, in his eighty-first year, Sir Anthony Colling Brownless
had determined the innovative five-year curriculum for Australia’s first medical course, championed the Medical School as a faculty, then led the University of Melbourne as vice-chancellor for twenty-nine years and as chancellor from 1887 until his death.
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Object detail

lithograph on paper, mounted, and reproduction
36.9 x 29 cm (lithograph)
50.4 x 41 cm (reproduction)
Accession Number
Credit line
Gift of Mrs Andrea J Brownless, 1969
maker's mark ▫ within image: 'T.H. Maguire/1850'
inscriptions ▫ printed beneath image: 'ANTHONY COLLING BROWNLESS/late Physician to the Royal General Dispensary and to the Metropolitan Dispensary'
inscriptions ▫ as typed label: 'ANTHONY COLLING BROWNLESS/AGED 33 - TWO YEARS BEFORE/HE CAME TO MELBOURNE./From a lithograph by/T. H. Maguire.'
Medical History Museum Category


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