Potter, John Phillips (DNB00)

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POTTER, JOHN PHILLIPS (1818–1847), anatomist, only son of Rev. John Phillips Potter (1793–1861), was born on 28 April 1818 at Southrop, Gloucestershire, while his father was acting as curate there. He was partly educated (for three years) at Brentford, and partly at the Kensington proprietary school. He entered University College as a student in 1831, and in his first year attained a distinguished position in the class of experimental and natural philosophy, while in 1834–5 he was awarded the gold medal for chemistry. In 1835–6 he became a pupil of Richard Quain (1800–1887) [q. v.], professor of anatomy. He obtained the highest class honours in the session of 1836–7; spent three years in the wards of the hospital, and became house-surgeon to Robert Liston [q. v.] In 1841 he took the degree of bachelor of medicine with the highest honours at the London University, and in 1843–4 was appointed junior demonstrator of anatomy. On 3 May 1847 he was appointed assistant-surgeon to the North London (University College) Hospital. But he unhappily received a poisoned wound while dissecting a pelvis for Liston, and died of pyæmia a fortnight later. Potter was an excellent teacher, and helped to raise the medical school of University College to the high position which it has since maintained. A bust by Thomas Campbell, dated 1847, is in the anatomical museum of University College.

[Obituary notice in the Lancet, 1847, i. 576; Gent. Mag. 1847, ii. 100; additional facts kindly given to the writer by Sir J. Eric Erichsen, bart., F.R.S.]

D’A. P.