Wolfgang Suschitzky

Sir Alexander Fleming, 1881 - 1955. Bacteriologist and discoverer of penicillin (1944)

About this artwork

Alexander Fleming was born near Darvel, and is the Scotsman who in 1928 discovered the antiseptic properties of penicillin mould. The production of pure penicillin was achieved by Ernest Chain and Howard Florey in 1940. In 1942, Fleming demonstrated that penicillin could cure meningitis and the British government urged its mass production. Fleming was knighted in 1944 and shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine with Chain and Florey in 1945. This photograph was taken when Suschitzky was making a documentary film on penicillin for the Ministry of Information in 1944.

Wolfgang Suschitzky

Wolfgang Suschitzky

Wolfgang Suschitzky, a photographer and cameraman born in Vienna, became one of the leading documentary makers on the British film market. He came to England in 1934 and signed up with Paul Rotha's Strand Films company in London. In a career spanning sixty years he has shot over a hundred films for both government agencies and commercial companies, including classics such as Ring of Bright Water (1969) and Get Carter (1970). Wherever he travelled, he also took his stills camera, snatching time from film making to build a significant archive of documentary photographs.