Stained glass window showing James Young Simpson, Europe, 1885-1985

1885-1985 in Europe

Buy this image as a print 


License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library


Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Stained glass window, leaded, showing portrait of Sir James Young Simpson

From the home of a North London physician, this stained glass window reputedly shows the portrait of Sir James Young Simpson (1811-70). Simpson is credited with the introduction of chloroform as an anaesthetic in Britain. Traditionally, the story of the discovery involves Simpson and his assistants experimenting on themselves by putting each other to sleep.

Simpson gave chloroform to mothers during childbirth in 1847 and its use in obstetrics was given a big boost when Queen Victoria used it during the birth of her son Leopold in 1853. (The anaesthetist on that occasion was John Snow.) However, once the potentially toxic nature of chloroform had become fully realised over time, it was used far more cautiously.


Wellcome (general)
Object Number:
A639481 Pt2
glass and lead
stained glass window