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Professor James Syme, 1799-1870. Surgeon

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Professor James Syme, 1799-1870. Surgeon About 1855

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
One of the leading surgeons in Europe of his day, Professor James Syme was Chair of Clinical Surgery at Edinburgh University from 1833 until 1869. He was renowned for his pioneering surgery involving amputations, and the speed with which his operations were carried out. He once reported: "I cut along the bone, which started, with a loud report, from its socket. Finally, I passed the knife around the head of the bone, cutting the remaining portion of the ligament, and this completed the operation, which certainly did not occupy at the most more than one minute." This photograph by John Adamson looks yellow because of the printing process used. Albumen, or pure egg white, was used to coat the paper and create a smooth surface. Unfortunately it often yellows over time.

Glossary Open

Albumen print

A print with the chemicals carried in a film of egg white to give a clear, detailed image.

Albumen print


  • Acc. No. PGP 49.3
  • Medium Albumen print
  • Size 60.90 x 15.60 cm
  • Credit Provenance unknown