[Sir Erasmus Wilson, eminent surgeon and dermatologist who paid for the transportation of Cleopatra's Needle.] Autograph Letter Signed ('Erasmus Wilson') to 'Miss Acton', diagnosing her 'local malady' as eczema, and giving cause, remedy and prognosis

Sir Erasmus Wilson [Sir William James Erasmus Wilson] (1809-1884), eminent surgeon and dermatologist who paid for the transportation of Cleopatra's Needle
Publication details: 
17 Henrietta Street, Cavendish Square [London]; 8 October 1849.
SKU: 21738

3pp, 12mo. Bifolium. In good condition, lightly aged, on browned paper, with thin strip of paper from mount adhering to blank reverse of second leaf. He begins by explaining that the delay in replying is due to 'having been suddenly called into the country on Saturday and not returning until this morning'. He then comes to the point: 'Your local malady, from your description, I believe to be Eczema; its cause, deficient nervous power, evinced principally in the periphery of the body, namely, skin & mucous membrane; - its remedy, a tonic – alterative medication and regimen, local & general.' Her diet should be 'generous', and her 'self-treatment should be much as will conduce to the body's strength, such as cheerfulness, Exercise, cold ablutions followed by frictions &c.' His 'opinion with regard to its result is, that you will get entirely well'. He concludes by stating that he does not want to see her 'specially', but that if she should come through London he would be 'glad of a report from you'. From the distinguished autograph collection of the psychiatrist Richard Alfred Hunter (1923-1981), whose collection of 7000 works relating to psychiatry is now in Cambridge University Library. Hunter and his mother Ida Macalpine had a particular interest in the illness of King George III, and their book 'George III and the Mad Business' (1969) suggested the diagnosis of porphyria popularised by Alan Bennett in his play 'The Madness of George III'.