Catalogue description David Lloyd Roberts 1835-1920 F. 1878

This record is held by Royal College of Physicians of London

Details of Portrait/X371
Reference: Portrait/X371
Title: David Lloyd Roberts 1835-1920 F. 1878

By Sir William Orpen,


Three-quarter length, seated; short silvery hair, heavy dark eyebrows, dark grey eyes; black tie with a jewel in the knot; black coat and waistcoat, dark grey trousers; a dark greyish brown curtain in the background ; signed at the bottom on the right; ORPEN.

Date: 1923
Held by: Royal College of Physicians of London, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Physical condition: Oils on canvas, 37¾ by 33¾ inches.
Immediate source of acquisition:

A replica, painted at the expense of the College, in 1923, from the original portrait (painted in 1915, and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1916) presented to Manchester.

Publication note:

Annals, October 1923; 1926 Catalogue; P. G. Konody and Sidney Dark, Sir William Orpen, (n.d.), pp. 270, 274.

Administrative / biographical background:

David Lloyd Roberts was born at Stockport, the son of a cotton spinner. He served in a chemist's shop before going to school at Ripponden, Yorkshire. He was then apprenticed to William Smith, professor of physiology at Owens College, and studied at the Manchester School of Medicine and the Royal Infirmary. He completed his training with visits to London and Paris and qualified in 1857. He went into general practice in Manchester and obtained the post of regular surgeon-in-ordinary at St. Mary's Hospital for Women and Children in 1858. He was connected with this institution for the rest of his life, and was made honorary physician in 1868. From 1885 to 1895 he was also gynaecological surgeon to the Manchester Royal Infirmary and lecturer on clinical midwifery at Owens College.


Lloyd Roberts wrote a popular Student's Guide to Practical Midwifery (1876) and achieved some distinction with his edition of Sir Thomas Browne's Religio Medici (1898) and his paper on The Scientific Knowledge of Dante (1914). He was a man of wide culture and a famous collector of mezzotints, water colours, glass, porcelain, silver, furniture and books. He left the Royal College of Physicians his valuable library of 3,000 books, including 53 incunabula, and he endowed the Lloyd-Roberts Lectures, given annually on a subject of medical or scientific interest. In Manchester he was a well-known and loved character who is said to have defined gynaecology as "anything either curable or lucrative" and who drove daily through the busy streets in an old-fashioned brougham.

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