Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Farquhar, Walter

FARQUHAR, Sir WALTER (1738–1819), physician, born in October 1738, was son of the Rev. Robert Farquhar, minister of Garioch in Scotland, and descended from Sir Robert Farquhar, knt., provost of Aberdeen in 1646. He was educated first at King's College, Aberdeen, where he remained four years, and took the degree of M.A. Here he also commenced the study of medicine under Dr. Gregory, but left in 1759 for Edinburgh, where, as well as at Glasgow, he continued his medical studies. Without graduating in medicine Farquhar entered the army medical service, being appointed to the 19th regiment, and took part in Lord Howe's expedition against Belle Isle in 1761. His regiment being afterwards stationed for a long time at Gibraltar, he obtained leave of absence, and spent nearly a year and a half in France, attending the hospitals at Paris and elsewhere. For several months he lived with and studied under Claude Nicolas le Cat, a celebrated anatomist and surgeon at Rouen. Farquhar returned to Gibraltar, but considerations of health led him to leave the army and settle in London, where he commenced practice as an apothecary. In this he was very successful, and his practice gradually became that of a physician. After obtaining the degree of M.D. from Aberdeen, 29 Jan. 1796, he was admitted fellow of the College of Physicians of Edinburgh, 3 May 1796, and licentiate of the London College, 30 Sept. in the same year (Munk, Coll. of Phys. 1878, ii. 461). He was created a baronet 1 March 1796, and being shortly afterwards appointed physician in ordinary to the Prince of Wales, he rapidly took a high place in the profession, and had among his patients many persons of rank and influence. In 1813 he partially withdrew from practice, and died on 30 March 1819 in London.

Farquhar was considered a very able and successful physician, while his high personal character won and secured for him many friends, but he is not known to have made any contributions to medical science or literature. His portrait, by H. Raeburn, was engraved by W. Sharp. He married in 1771 Ann, widow of Dr. Harvie, a physician, and daughter of Alexander Stephenson of Barbadoes, by whom he left a family. His second son was Sir Robert Townsend Farquhar [q. v.], governor and commander-in-chief of the Mauritius.

[Authentic Memoirs of Physicians and Surgeons, 2nd ed. 1818; Foster's Baronetage, 1882; Betham's Baronetage.]

J. F. P.