Catalogue description Thomas Forrest Cotton 1884-1965 F. 1931

This record is held by Royal College of Physicians of London

Details of Portrait/X129
Reference: Portrait/X129
Title: Thomas Forrest Cotton 1884-1965 F. 1931

By David Jagger


Head and shoulders, slightly to left; smooth light brown hair, pale grey eyebrows, pale blue eyes, full lips; white collar with green stripe, black tie, black coat, red handkerchief, plain green waistcoat; plain black background, lit from left; signed, bottom right. JAGGER.

Date: c.1926
Held by: Royal College of Physicians of London, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Physical condition: Oils on canvas, 22 by 18 inches.
Immediate source of acquisition:

Received with Dr. Cotton's bequest to the College and hung, 1967.

Publication note:

al. from Mrs. M. A. Cotton, 17 October 1967.

Administrative / biographical background:

A Canadian, Thomas Cotton was born in Quebec 4 November 1884, and educated in Montreal. He qualified in medicine at McGill University. In 1913 he moved to London and worked under Sir Thomas Lewis. Then back to Montreal for a time to run a department of electrocardiography. The Military Hospital, Hampstead, had been established for research into the heart disorders of soldiers and it was here that Thomas Cotton resumed work in London in 1914. He collaborated with Osler and other pioneers in the heart world to investigate 'soldiers' heart' or effort syndrome, as Sir Thomas Lewis named it.


He was the first to recognize clubbed fingers as a sign of subacute bacterial endocarditis and probably his most important original contribution was a report to the Medical Research Council on this condition.


In 1924 he was appointed to the National Hospital for Diseases of the Heart and, because of his long experience in the subject, was invited to act as consultant cardiologist to Queen Alexandra's Military Hospital and the Ministry of Pensions.


A good mixer, he communicated cheerfulness and optimism to patients and staff. Successful investments in Canada enabled him to make a major bequest towards the Osler Room at the College, so named at his request. His ashes lie next to Osler's in the Osler Library at McGill.

Have you found an error with this catalogue description?

Help with your research