William Anderson (collector)

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William Anderson

William Anderson FRCS (18 December 1842 – 27 October 1900) was an English surgeon born in Shoreditch, London. He was Professor of Anatomy at the Royal Academy in London, and an important collector and scholar of Japanese art. He was the first chairman of the Japan Society. In 1881, the British Museum acquired over 2000 Japanese and Chinese paintings from Anderson, ensuring that it had (and still has) one of the largest such collections in its field in Europe.[1] The genetic disorder Anderson-Fabry disease is named after him.[2]


Anderson was educated at the City of London School, the Lambeth School of Art (where he was awarded a medal for artistic anatomy) and St Thomas's Hospital (where he also won numerous prizes). He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1869. At St Thomas's Hospital, he was in 1871 appointed surgical registrar and assistant demonstrator of anatomy. In 1873, he moved to Tokyo, Japan, where he was professor of anatomy and surgery at the Imperial Naval Medical College, and gave lectures both in English and in Japanese, which he learned for that purpose. Here, he assembled his collections and began his study of Japanese art. He was eventually, in 1895, appointed as a knight commander of the Japanese order of the Rising Sun.[3] He returned to St Thomas's Hospital in London in 1880, and eventually became senior lecturer on anatomy. He was elected professor of anatomy at the Royal Academy in 1891.[3] He published the first description of the genetic disorder that later became known as Anderson-Fabry disease.[2][4] He was twice married.


Between 1882 and 1900, Anderson donated his collection of approximately 2000 Japanese illustrated woodcut books to what is now the British Library. He was the author of a pioneering Descriptive and historical account of a collection of Japanese and Chinese paintings in the British Museum (1886); and Pictorial arts of Japan (1886).[3]

See also[edit]

List of Old Citizens


  1. ^ British Museum Collection
  2. ^ a b "British Association of Dermatologists – WW2 and its Aftermath". bad.org.uk. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "Plarr's Lives of the Fellows Online". The Royal College of surgeons of England. London. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2010. Note: Plarr's Lives of the Fellows Online is a biographical register of the Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
  4. ^ ANDERSON, WILLIAM (April 1898). "A Case of "Angeio-Keratoma."". British Journal of Dermatology. 10 (4): 113–117. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2133.1898.tb16317.x. ISSN 0007-0963.

External links[edit]