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Biographical entry Nasmyth, Alexander ( - 1848)

MRCS Jan 7th 1831; FRCS (by election) Aug 26th 1844.

4 August 1848
Great Malvern
Anatomist and Dental surgeon


Alexander Nasmyth came of the Scottish family of that name. He practised latterly at 13A George Street, Hanover Square, W, and was well known as an anatomist and surgeon-dentist. He made valuable donations to the Royal College of Surgeons Museum, and is included in Richard Owen's "Lists of Donors of Specimens presented to the Museum, 1832-1856". The membrane covering the enamel of an unworn tooth is named after him 'Nasmyth's membrane', and his work on the anatomy of the teeth was of high importance. Nasmyth worked harmoniously with Edwin Saunders (qv) in connection with the dental treatment of cleft palate. He became paralysed in the spring of 1846, when Saunders undertook his practice at an hour's notice and carried it on successfully.

At the time of his death he was Surgeon-Dentist to the Queen and the Prince Consort, and Member of the Linnean, Royal Medico-Chirurgical, Zoological, Microscopical, and Ethnological Societies. Whilst practising at 13A George Street, Hanover Square, he had a house at Great Malvern, where he died on Aug 4th, 1848. His lithograph portrait is in the College Collection.

Nasmyth contributed many valuable papers to the Edin Med and Surg Jour between 1830 and 1840.
Researches on the Development, Structure and Diseases of the Teeth, 8vo, 7 plates, London, 1839. There is an historical introduction republished at Baltimore by the American Society of Dental Surgeons, 8vo, 1842.
A continuation of the preceding, 8vo, 10 plates, London, 1849. (This is posthumous.)
"Report of a Paper on the Cellular Structure of the Ivory, Enamel and Pulp of the Teeth, as well as of the Epithelium," 8vo, London, 1839; reprinted from Brit Assoc Rep.
"On the Structure, Physiology and Pathology of the Persistent Capsular Investments and Pulp of the Tooth." - Med-Chir Trans, 1839, xxii, 310; and other papers to the Royal Medico-Chirurgical Society.
Three Memoirs on the Development and Structure of the Teeth and Epithelium, 9 plates, London, 1841.
In the College Library are the Appendix in MS to the Researches on the Teeth, also the original sketches for plates illustrating "Cellular Structure of the Teeth".
Nasmyth contributed papers to the Geological and Ethnological Societies on the teeth and subjects connected with them. To the Institut de Paris he contributed "Memoir on the Cellular Structure of the Teeth and Epithelium", and he was Lecturer to the Royal Institution on "The Structure of Recent and Fossil Teeth".

Sources used to compile this entry: [Med Circular, 1853, iii, 344].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England