Lives of the fellows

Francis de Valingen

b.1725 d.1 March 1805
MD St And(1763) LRCP(1765)

Francis de Valingen, M.D., was born at Berne in Switzerland, and received his general and medical education at Leyden. Though educated in physic, it was not originally his intention to pursue it as a profession, his connections having led him to look for advancement in a department of public life. Towards the end of the reign of George the Second, he kissed hands on receiving some diplomatic appointment to the court of Madrid; but on the retreat of his patron from power almost immediately afterwards, he declined the honour, and then devoted himself to physic. He was created doctor of medicine by the university of St. Andrew’s 9th July, 1763; and was admitted a Licentiate of the College of Physicians 23rd December, 1765. He resided in Fore-street, Cripplegate; but about 1772 purchased some ground near White Conduit-fields where he erected a house, extensive in conveniences but fanciful in construction, being built on a plan laid down by himself. At this suburban house, Hermes-hill, Pentonville, he thenceforward resided, but he continued his practice in Fore-street. He died, after a short illness, 1st March,1805, aged eighty, at Hermes-hill, and was buried in Cripplegate church. Dr. de Valingen was a person of refined taste and an ardent lover of music and painting—in the former art he was a good performer, and he left behind him in manuscript some remarks on the theory of musical composition.(1) He was the author of "A Treatise on Diet." 8vo. Lond. 1768; and was the first to suggest the employment of the chloride of arsenic in practice. A large quantity of this compound he prepared with his own hands, and presented it to the Apothecaries' Company, under the name of "solvent mineral," a solution of which was thenceforward kept on sale at the Hall, and was extensively prescribed by some of the leading physicians in the city. It was supposed to be safer and more efficacious than Fowler’s solution, and on these grounds was admitted into the last London Pharmacopoeia, under the name of Liquor Arsenici Chloridi. Dr. de Valingen’s portrait, by Abbot, was engraved by J. Collyer in 1794.

William Munk

[(1) Wadd’s Nugæ Chirurgicæ, p. 263]

(Volume II, page 273)

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