Francis Seymour Haden

English , 1818 - 1910

Born in 1818, Sir Francis Seymour Haden was an etcher, collector and surgeon. He studied at the Derby School, Christ’s Hospital and University College in London. He also studied at the medical schools of the Sorbonne in Paris and at Grenoble. He became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1842 and he was made a fellow in 1857. He was an honorary surgeon to the Department of Science and Art from 1851 to 1867 and in 1847 he settled into a private practice. Haden was a vice-president of the obstetrical society of London and one of the founders of the Royal Hospital for Incurables in 1850.

In 1858, Haden encouraged James McNeil Whistler to work from nature and consequently, Whistler dedicated his first set of etchings entitled “French Set”, to Haden. The etchings were printed by Auguste Delâtre in Paris and marketed, with some help from Haden, in London. In 1859 Whistler settled in London and often visited Haden’s Sloane Street home. Whistler executed a number of paintings and etchings of domestic scenes within Haden’s home, among them “Reading By Lamplight” and “Harmony in Green and Rose: The Music Room”. Haden’s old master prints and his vast knowledge of photography were a great influence in Whistler’s career. After an argument in 1867, Haden and Whistler never spoke again and during the same year, Whistler was expelled from the Burlington Club as a result of a complaint made by Haden.

Haden became the president of the Society of Painter-Etchers and he was partly responsible for the Rembrandt exhibition at the Burlington Fine Arts Club in 1879. His published works include, “The Etched Work of Rembrandt” (1879), “The Art of the Painter-Etchers” (1890) and “The Royal Society of Painter-Etchers (1891). In 1891 he was elected a member of the Athenæum and in 1894 his public service was rewarded with a knighthood. In 1905 his distinction was recognized abroad by honorary membership of the Institut de France, the Académie des Beaux Arts and the Société des Artistes Français. He was awarded medals for etching at the Expositions Universelles in Paris in 1889 and 1900.
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