Lives of the fellows

John Richard Farre

b.31 January 1775 d.7 May 1862
MD Aberd(1806) LRCP(1806)

John Richard Farre, M.D., was born in Barbadoes, on the 31st of January, 1775, and was the son of Mr. Richard John Farre, a medical practitioner, much respected and extensively employed in that island. He received the best general education the island could supply, and then commenced the study of medicine under his father, who accompanied him to England in 1792, and entered him a student at the United Borough hospitals. Towards the end of 1793 he became a member of the Corporation of Surgeons, his object in doing so being to accompany Mr. Foster, one of the surgeons of Guy’s hospital, to the south of France, in the expedition under the earl of Moira, for the purpose of acquiring a knowledge of military surgery. He served for three months as hospital mate, but being disappointed in both his objects, by Mr. Foster having declined the appointment of surgeon on the staff, and by the failure of the expedition, he, with the approbation of Sir John Macnamara Hayes, the director of the staff, resigned his situation, and quitting the army, returned to London, to continue his studies.

He paid two lengthened visits to Barbadoes, where he practised surgery and midwifery, and in the summer of 1800 finally returned to England. He subsequently spent two years in Edinburgh, graduated doctor of medicine at Aberdeen 22nd January, 1806, was admitted a Licentiate of the College of Physicians 31st March, 1806, and commenced business as a physician in London. He co-operated with his friend, Mr. John Cunningham Saunders in establishing the Royal London Ophthalmic hospital, of which institution he is justly considered the joint founder. He was appointed physician to that hospital, and for nearly fifty years devoted his best energies to its service. He resigned his office there and retired from practice in 1856. Dr. Farre died 7th May, 1862, aged 87, and is buried at Kensal-green.

He left among others, two sons bred to the profession of physic, and both of them Fellows of the College: Frederic John Farre, M.D., the present respected treasurer, during whose tenure of that office, and in great measure through whose energy and perseverance, the building in Pall Mall East has been completely repaired, renovated and ornamented as well internally as externally; and Arthur Farre, M.D., physician extraordinary to the Queen, and physician accoucheur to the Princess of Wales, who by his recent gift to the College of considerably more than a thousand volumes of books, many of them of much scarcity and value, ranks among the most munificent of the donors to its library.

Dr. Farre’s portrait is in the board room of the Ophthalmic hospital. It was painted by Thomas Phillips, R.A., and was engraved in mezzotinto by F. Bromley. Dr. Farre edited the works of his two friends, Dr. J. F. D. Jones and Mr. Cunningham Saunders, viz.:—
A Treatise on the Process employed by Nature in Suppressing the Hæmorrhage from divided and punctured Arteries; and on the Use of the Ligature with Observations on Secondary Haemorrhage by J. F. D. Jones, M.D. 8vo. Lond. 1805.
A Treatise on some Practical Points relating to the Diseases of the Eye, by the late John Cunningham Saunders; with a Short Account of the Author’s Life and his Method of Curing the Congenital Cataract. 8vo. Lond. 1811.
Dr. Farre also projected and edited—
The Journal of Morbid Anatomy, Ophthalmic Medicine, and Pharmaceutical Analysis.
and was the author of—
The Morbid Anatomy of the Liver; an Inquiry into the Anatomical Character, Symptoms and Treatment of Certain Diseases which impair or destroy the Structure of that Viscus. Parts I and II. Tumours. 4to. Lond. 1812-15.
Pathological Researches on Malformation of the Human Heart, illustrated by numerous cases, and preceded by some Observations on the method of Improving the Diagnostic Part of Medicine. 8vo. Lond. 1814.

William Munk

(Volume III, page 33)

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