Rare collection of 18th century British army surgeon who won the respect of the French

27 Nov 2013, Antique Arms and Armor
Antique Arms and Armour

Rare collection of 18th century British army surgeon who won the respect of the French

27 Nov 2013, Antique Arms and Armor

A portrait of Inspector General Thomas Young (1753 -1836) and his collection of medals seals, and personal papers relating to his service to king and country, plus a sword that might have been owned by Napoleon Bonaparte, will be sold at Bonhams next Antique Arms & Armour sale on November 27.

The collection is estimated to sell for £20,000 to £30,000. Among the items once owned by Thomas Young is a rare and important portrait of him attributed to Sir William Beechey (1753-1839). In it he stands three-quarter length wearing a scarlet tunic with red velvet facings and gold epaulettes, his Ottoman sabre, his gold Sultan's medal for Egypt, and his gold-mounted fob-seal. Unusually, almost everything in the portrait shown with Young, is also for sale.

Among this intriguing collection is 'Bonaparte's sword'. Family papers accompanying this item include a letter on mourning stationary dated November 1864 which states: 'When Mr. Young left Egypt he went to Paris to see some of the French medical staff who were in Egypt with him and made him a present of the sword ...'

David Williams, Head of Antique Arms and Armour at Bonhams. says: "It is extremely rare to find almost everything seen in a painting come to sale with the original portrait. That is the case here which makes this a particularly exciting and interesting lot in the sale."

In 1801 Young was Principal Medical Officer to Abercrombie's expedition to Egypt being present at the Naval battle of Alexandria against the French during which General Abercrombie was wounded and subsequently died. Young gained the admiration of the French medical staff following the defeat of the French when British and French medical staff treated the wounded of both armies.

Inspector General Thomas Young started his medical career as a hospital mate in 1776 and was appointed surgeon to the 1st Royal Regiment of Foot in November 1780. He served in the Caribbean and was wounded in 1782 during the French reoccupation of St. Kitts. Promoted to Garrison Surgeon at Grenada in 1792 he subsequently served as Staff Surgeon in Holland under H.R.H. Duke of York.

In 1795 he accepted the post of Inspector of Hospitals with the army in the West Indies under Sir Ralph Abercrombie (among the documents survives a vellum General Return of Sick and Wounded ... in the Caribbean from 1796 to 1797 as depicted in the portrait). Following a period on half-pay he returned to service in 1799 and then served in Egypt.

Young went on to serve in Malta and returned to England via France retiring to Peebles where he died in 1836

Contacts
  1. Julian Roup
    Author
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, W1S 1SR
    United Kingdom
    Work +44 20 7468 8259
    FaxFax: +44 20 7468 8209