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Biographical entry Haden, Sir Francis Seymour (1818 - 1910)

Knight Bachelor 1894; MRCS June 27th 1842; FRCS (by election) Dec 17th 1854.

16 September 1818
1 June 1910
Alresford, Hampshire
General surgeon


Son of Charles Thomas Haden, MD (1786-1824); born at 62 Sloane Street, London, on Sept 16th, 1818. His father's Practical Observations on the Management and Diseases of Children was published posthumously in 1827, with a biographical notice by Dr Thomas. His mother was the daughter of Samuel Harrison, vocalist, and was herself an excellent musician. Haden was educated at Derby School, Christ's Hospital, University College Hospital, and studied later at the Sorbonne, Paris, and at Grenoble, where he acted as prosector in 1839; later he lectured on anatomy at the Military Hospital, and subsequently qualified MRCS. After that, in 1843-1844, he travelled in Italy.

He settled in practice in 1842 at his father's house, 62 Sloane Street, moving in 1878 to 38 Hertford Street, Mayfair. From 1851-1857 he was Hon Surgeon to the Department of Science and Art, and was elected FRCS. He served on Juries of the International Exhibition of 1851 and 1862, in connection with which he championed the operation of ovariotomy. He was Consulting Surgeon to the Chapel Royal, and one of the principal movers in the foundation of the Royal Hospital for Incurables. Whilst he attacked prevalent methods of burial, he vigorously opposed cremation as being an incentive to crime; he advocated an earth-to-earth burial in a coffin of papier mâché. Whilst carrying out a large practice, including obstetrics, he became a Vice-President of the Obstetric Society. He had from the first artistic inclinations. In Paris he spent much time in the art schools; consequently he was a staunch advocate of the use of drawing in training the hand and eye of the surgeon. He pursued particularly from 1858 the art and study of etching, alongside his professional work as a surgeon, until 1887. Most of 250 etchings were done during the years of his greatest professional activity.

He married in 1847 Dasha Delano Whistler, half-sister of James Abbott McNeil Whistler, and the etchings of Whistler and Haden bear traces of a mutual influence. He founded in 1880 the Society (later the Royal Society) of Painter-Etchers, whose President he remained until his death.

On retiring from practice as a surgeon in 1887 he went to live at Woodcote Manor, Alresford, Hampshire, where he died on June 1st, 1910. Lady Haden had died in 1908. They had three sons, the eldest Francis Seymour Haden, CMG, and one daughter. There is a portrait in the Council Album, also other small portraits, but not the portrait etched by himself.

The Disposal of the Dead. A Protest against Cremation: Earth to Earth, London, 1875.
Cremation an Incentive to Crime, 2nd ed., 1892.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Dict. Nat. Biog., Supplement 2, sub nomine et auct. Ibi cit. The article contains an account of his artistic work].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England