Quain, Richard (1816-1898) (DNB01)

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QUAIN, Sir RICHARD, first baronet (1816–1898), physician, born on 30 Oct. 1816 at Mallow-on-the-Blackwater, co. Cork, was the eldest child of John Quain of Carrigoon. John Quain's elder brother, Richard Quain of Ratheahy, was father of Jones Quain [q. v.], of Richard Quain [q. v.], and of Judge John Richard Quain. Sir Richard Quain's mother was Mary, daughter of Michael Burke of Mallow. He received his early education at Cloyne diocesan school, and was then appenticed to Dr. Fraser, a surgeon-apothecary at Limerick. He entered University College, London, in January 1837, where his cousins Jones and Richard Quain were teaching anatomy. In 1840 he graduated M.B., taking the scholarship and gold medal in physiology with honours in surgery and mid-wifery. He spent a year as house surgeon at University College Hospital, and for the following five years he was house physician. He graduated M.D. in 1842, receiving the gold medal and a certificate of special proficiency, and in 1843 he was elected a fellow of Uni- versity College. In 1848 he was elected assistant physician at the Brompton Hospital for Diseases of the Chest, where he became full physician in 1855, and consulting physician in 1875. Later in life he was consulting physician to the Seamen's Hospital at Greenwich and to the Royal Hospital for Consumption at Ventnor. Of the Royal College of Physicians of London he was admitted a member in March 1846, a fellow in 1851, a member of council and censor in 1867, 1868, 1877, and 1882, a vice-president in 1889. In 1872 he delivered the Lumleian lectures on diseases of the muscular walls of the heart, and in 1885 he was Harveian orator, taking as the subject of his address the healing art in its historic and prophetic aspects.

He was appointed crown nominee on the General Medical Council in November 1863, and took his seat in the following year. He was shortly afterwards appointed a treasurer and a member of the pharmacopoeia committee. He acted as secretary during the first revision, which resulted in the publication of the second edition of the 'British Pharmacopœia' in 1867. He subsequently (1874) became chairman of the committee, and was thus closely associated with the issues of the 'Pharmacopœia' which appeared in 1874 and 1885, as well as in the publication of the Appendix of 1890 and the new edition of 1898. In 1891, on the death of John Marshall (1818-1891) [q. v.], Quain was elected president of the General Medical Council, and was re-elected in 1896 on the expiration of his term of office.

In 1865 he was a prominent member of the royal commission appointed to inquire into the nature, causes, and methods of prevention of the rinderpest or cattle plague. In May 1860 he was appointed by the crown a member of the senate of the university of London. He was president of the Harveian Society in 1853, and of the Pathological Society, where he had served as secretary from 1852 to 1856, in 1869. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1871, M.D. honoris causa of the Roval University of Ireland in 1887, fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland in 1887, LL.D. of Edinburgh in 1889, M.D. of Trinity College, Dublin, in 1890, and physician extraordinary to Queen Victoria in 1890. He was created a baronet of the United Kingdom on New Year's day 1891.

Quain died in Harley Street, London, on 13 March 1898, and is buried in the Hampetead cemetery. A portrait by Sir John Millais, painted in 1895, is in the possession of the Royal College of Physicians, London. He married, in 1854, Isabella Agnes, only daughter of Captain George Wray of the Bengal army, of Cleasby in Yorkshire, by whom he had four daughters.

Quain acquired early a large and fashionable practice in London, a position for which his natural talents pre-eminently fitted him. He attended both Thomas Carlyle and his wife, while he was the personal friend as well as the medical adviser of Sir Edwin Landseer. His work in connect on with fatty degeneration of the heart has become classical, and he is known as the editor of a 'Dictionary of Medicine,' the most successful medical publication of his generation. The first edition was published in one volume in 1882; the second edition, edited by Dr. Mitchell Bruce, in two volumes in 1894.

[British Medical Journal, 1898, i. 793; Lancet, 1898, i. 816.]

D’A. P.