Wadd, William (DNB00)

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WADD, WILLIAM (1776–1829), surgeon, the eldest son of Solomon Wadd, a surgeon, who lived and practised for more than half a century in Basinghall Street, London, was born on 21 June 1776, and was entered at Merchant Taylors’ school late in 1784. He was apprenticed to (Sir) James Earle [q. v.] in 1797, and thus became one of the privileged class of surgeon’s pupils at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. He was admitted a member of the Royal College of Surgeons on 18 Dec. 1801, and in 1816 he contested the post of assistant-surgeon to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital when John Painter Vincent [q. v.] was elected. He was chosen a member of the College of Surgeons of England in 1824, and was appointed a member of the court of examiners in succession to John Abernethy [q. v.] on 3 Aug. 1829. He was appointed one of the surgeons extraordinary to the prince regent on 19 Aug. 1817, and surgeon extraordinary to George IV on 30 March 1821.

He was killed instantaneously on 29 Aug. 1829 by jumping off a runaway car on the road from Killarney to Mitchelstown while he was making a holiday tour in Ireland. At the time of his death he was a fellow of the Linnean Society, and an associate of the Société de Médecine of Paris. A man of high talents, Wadd had a rich fund of anecdote. He was an excellent draughtsman, and learnt etching to such good effect that the illustrations in his own works are all the products of his own needle. He married on 5 July 1806, Caroline Mackenzie, who survived him, and by her had two children—a son who was drowned at Mauritius, and a daughter.

A life-size half-length in oils, painted by John Jackson, is in the secretary’s office at the Royal College of Surgeons in Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

Wadd was author of: 1. ‘Practical Observations on … Strictures …,’ London, 1809, 8vo; 2nd ed. 1811; reissued 1812; 3rd ed. 1826. 2. ‘Cursory Remarks on Corpulence, London, 1810, 8vo, issued anonymously; 3rd ed. 1816; reissued in an enlarged form as: ‘Comments on Corpulency, Lineaments of Leanness, Mems on Diet and Dietetics,’ London, 1829, 8vo. The etchings in this volume remind one of Cruikshank. 3. ‘Cases of Diseased Bladder and Testicle,’ London, 1815, 4to, with twenty-one plates; reissued 1817. 4. ‘Cases of Diseased Prepuce and Scrotum,’ London, 1817, 4to, with twelve plates. 5. ‘On Malformations and Diseases of the Head,’ London, 1819, 4to, with eleven plates. 6. ‘Illustrations of Morbid Anatomy,’ London, 1824, fol. with seventy-eight plates. The original drawings are in the Royal College of Surgeons of England. There is no letterpress attached to the work beyond the title-page. 7. ‘Nugæ Chirurgicæ, or a Biographical Miscellany illustrative of a Collection of Professional Portraits,’ London, 1824, 8vo. This is the work by which Wadd’s name is best known. The nucleus of the collection of portraits was presented to him about 1814 by Henry Fauntleroy [q. v.], the banker, who was hanged for forgery. The catalogue is arranged under two alphabets—one of anecdotal biographies, the other of memorabilia. The work is excellent reading, but it is full of inaccuracies both of dates and names. 8. ‘Nugæ Canoræ, or Epitaphian Mementoes (in stone-cutters’ verse) of the Medici Family, by Unus Quorum,’ London, 1827, 8vo. 9. ‘Mems, Maxims, and Memoirs,’ London, 1827, 8vo. Both volumes contain a miscellany of things medical, and of the history of medicine and surgery in England. Many have utilised them, but few have acknowledged their indebtedness. They show a wide reading, but are thoroughly uncritical.

[Gent. Mag. 1829, ii. 562; Hallett’s Catalogue of Portraits and Busts in the Royal College of Surgeons of England; Robinson’s Reg. of Merchant Taylors' School; notes collected by the late Mr. J. B. Bailey, librarian of the Royal College of Surgeons of England; additional information kindly given by Dr. F. J. Wadd, nephew of William Wadd.]

D’A. P.