Richardson, Robert (1779-1847) (DNB00)

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RICHARDSON, ROBERT (1779–1847), physician and traveller, born in 1779, was a native of Stirlingshire. After leaving Stirling grammar school he studied arts at Glasgow University, but graduated M.D. at Edinburgh 12 Sept. 1807. After practising for a time in Dumfriesshire, he became travelling physician to Charles John Gardiner, second viscount Mountjoy (first earl of Blessington and husband of the famous countess). In 1816 he joined Somerset Lowry Corry, second earl of Belmore (brother of Henry Thomas Lowry Corry [q. v.]), and a party in a two years' tour through Europe, Egypt, and Palestine. While in Albania they had two interviews with Ali Pasha at Janina. Having visited the Pyramids and many places of interest on the banks of the Nile, as far as the second cataract, Richardson and his friends proceeded to Palestine, reaching Gaza in April 1818. Richardson claims to have been the first Christian traveller admitted to Solomon's mosque. At Tiberias he and his friends received a visit from Lady Hester Lucy Stanhope [q. v.]

On his return to England Richardson, who had become L.R.C.P. on 26 June 1815, settled in Rathbone Place, London, and obtained an extensive practice. He died in Gordon Street, Gordon Square, on 5 Nov. 1847, and was buried in Highgate cemetery. His ‘Travels’ were published in two volumes in 1822, with plans and engravings. They were unfavourably criticised in the ‘Quarterly Review’ for October 1822, but were acknowledged by other critics to contain valuable information. Lady Blessington lent Byron the book, and he highly commended it, saying: ‘The author is just the sort of man I should like to have with me for Greece—clever, both as a man and a physician.’

[Munk's Coll. of Phys. iii. 134; Gent. Mag. 1847, ii. 666; Lady Blessington's Conversations with Lord Byron, 1893, pp. 330–1, n.; Allibone's Dict. of Engl. Lit. ii. 1796; Richardson's Travels, 1822.]

G. Le G. N.