About this artwork

Alexander Wood was a highly respected and extremely popular Edinburgh surgeon. The son of a Restalrig farmer, he studied medicine in Edinburgh and for a while practiced in Musselburgh. He subsequently moved back to the capital and became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1756. Known for his philanthropy and kindness he was nicknamed by the citizens of Edinburgh, ‘lang Sandy’ for his lanky figure. Wood was a friend of Robert Burns and was held in high esteem by Byron. When one night he was mistakenly seized by a rioting mob, he saved himself by exclaiming: 'I'm lang Sandy Wood; tak' me to a lamp and ye'll see'. One of Wood’s pupils was the pioneer of psychiatric medicine, Sir Alexander Morison.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
    David AlisonScottish (1783 - 1807)
  • title:
    Alexander Wood, 1726 - 1807. Surgeon
  • date created:
    About 1805
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    76.20 x 63.50 cm (framed: 81.10 x 68.60 x 6.00 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Given by Kenneth Sanderson 1938
  • accession number:
    PG 1368
  • gallery:
  • depicted:
  • subject:
Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? Tell us what you think.

David Alison

David Alison