Matthew Baillie

A life sized white marble bust of physician Matthew Baillie is in St Andrew's chapel in Westminster Abbey. It is by sculptor Sir Francis Chantrey and is dated 1827. The bust stands on a stele, standing on a wall ledge. The Latin inscription can be translated:

To Matthew Baillie, M.D., Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, of London and Edinburgh, born in the Scottish shire of Lanark, his education begun at Glasgow and completed in Oxford. An outstanding lecturer in anatomy at London, he was the first to reduce to a more reliable and systematic pattern those parts of anatomy which related to diseases. Many of his contemporaries, physicians and surgeons, arranged for the erection of this effigy to a great physician, a man of unsullied probity, of an acute, honest, upright, noble and pious mind. He died on 23rd Sept., year of salvation 1823, aged 62

He was born on 27th October 1761 at the manse in Shotts in Lanarkshire where his father James was minister. His mother was Dorothea (Hunter), sister of the famous anatomists John and William Hunter. His sister was the poet Joanna Baillie. After university he attended lectures at his uncle William's anatomy school in London and studied chemistry and medicine. He visited hospitals on the continent and lectured widely. He was a founder member of what became the Royal Society of Medicine and was appointed physician to St George's hospital. But in 1799 he gave up teaching for private practice and was physician-extraordinary to George III. He also attended Lord Byron and Sir Walter Scott and was the author of the first treatise in English on morbid anatomy 1793. He is buried at Duntisbourne Abbots in Gloucestershire near his home.

John Hunter is buried in the nave of the Abbey.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

"The life and works of Matthew Baillie" by F. Crainz, 1995


27th October 1761


23rd September 1823


Physician; doctor


Chapel of St Andrew

Memorial Type


Material Type


Matthew Baillie
Matthew Baillie
Matthew Baillie
Matthew Baillie memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster