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Clift, William Home (1803-1832)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0114 MS0239
Held at: Royal College of Surgeons of England
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Full title: Clift, William Home (1803-1832)
Date(s): 1825-1832
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 1 box
Name of creator(s): Clift | William Home | 1803-1832 | museum curator
Owen | Sir | Richard | 1804-1892 | Knight | naturalist


Administrative/Biographical history:

William Home Clift was born in London, in 1803. He was the youngest child of William Clift (1775-1849), museum curator and scientific illustrator, and was named after his godfather, Sir Everard Home, the surgeon and anatomist, and John Hunter's brother-in-law. His father and godfather were keen for him to continue the work of his father as conservator of the Hunterian Museum. The College records show that William Home Clift was already working in the Museum in 1818 and in 1823 he was officially appointed assistant conservator. One of the most important pieces of work he completed at the museum was the preparation of catalogues of the osteological section of the museum in 1830, and the Catalogue of Monsters and Malformed Parts in 1831. Biographers of John Hunter, and Sir Richard Owen (who was appointed as the second assistant in the museum in 1827) have attributed the preparation of these catalogues to Owen, not acknowledging William Home Clift's work. He died in 1832.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of William Home Clift, 1825-1832, comprising manuscript notes and sketches by Clift, taken at lectures given by Sir Charles Bell, on topics including sensory organs, hernia, and lythotomy, 1827; notes and sketches by Clift and J Streeten, taken at lectures on surgery given by Sir Charles Bell, on topics including mechanical construction of the body, the structure and growth of teeth, and the nervous system, 1828; notes by Clift and Sir Richard Owen titled Rough Account of Diagrams, Preparations etc., used at the Lectures 1828, containing lists of diagrams for lectures by Sir Charles Bell and Joseph Henry Green; notes by Clift titled Lectures 1832. Mr Guthrie and Sir Charles Bell. Commenced Tuesday February 28th, Terminated Saturday May 5th. WH Clift; reports by Clift to the Board of Curators, on the progress of the catalogue of monsters and osteological items, and other activities in the museum, 1829-1831; and colour drawings of fish by Clift, 10 Jun 1825.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The lecture notes are arranged in chronological order, followed by the reports and the drawings.

Conditions governing access:

By written appointment only.

Conditions governing reproduction:

No photocopying permitted.

Finding aids:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The notes of lectures were found with the papers of William Clift. The drawings were removed from a box of museum papers relating to natural history.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Sketches by William Home Clift in MS0007/1/6/1/3 William Clift's research papers, Sketches of the Heads of Murderers.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Anya Turner.
Source: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Sep 2008

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