Alexander Wood, 1726 - 1807. Surgeon (About 1805)
About this artwork
Alexander Wood was a highly respected and extremely popular Edinburgh surgeon. The son of a Restalrig farmer, he studied medicine in Edinburgh and for a while practiced in Musselburgh. He subsequently moved back to the capital and became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1756. Known for his philanthropy and kindness he was nicknamed by the citizens of Edinburgh, ‘lang Sandy’ for his lanky figure. Wood was a friend of Robert Burns and was held in high esteem by Byron. When one night he was mistakenly seized by a rioting mob, he saved himself by exclaiming: 'I'm lang Sandy Wood; tak' me to a lamp and ye'll see'. One of Wood’s pupils was the pioneer of psychiatric medicine, Sir Alexander Morison.
- title: Alexander Wood, 1726 - 1807. Surgeon
- accession number: PG 1368
- artist: David AlisonScottish (1783 - 1807)
- depicted: Alexander Wood
- gallery: In Storage
- object type: Painting
- subject: Medicine and science
- medium: Oil on canvas
- date created: About 1805
- measurements: 76.20 x 63.50 cm (framed: 81.10 x 68.60 x 6.00 cm)
- credit line: Given by Kenneth Sanderson 1938
The son of a Perth baillie, Alison began his artistic career as a pupil of Sir Henry Raeburn. However, little is further known about his life and career. A painting of Sir James Dunsmore, 75th Regt, from about 1804, is signed with the monogram ‘DA’ and is attributed to Alison. It now hangs in the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen. The portrait of Edinburgh surgeon Alexander Wood is the only painting by Alison in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery Collection.