Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/224

There was a problem when proofreading this page.

[The accounts of Potter are contradictory and confusing. See Baker's Biographia Dramatica, ed. Reed and Jones, i. 577–9, ii. 100, 316; Literary Memoirs of Living Authors, 1798, vol. ii.; Reuss's Register of Living Authors, 1804, vols. i. ii.; Musik. Conversations-Lexikon, viii. 153; Watt's Bibl. Britannica; Brit. Mus. Cat.; authorities cited.]

G. Le G. N.

POTTER, JOHN PHILLIPS (1818–1847), anatomist, only son of Rev. John Phillips Potter (1793–1861), was born on 28 April 1818 at Southrop, Gloucestershire, while his father was acting as curate there. He was partly educated (for three years) at Brentford, and partly at the Kensington proprietary school. He entered University College as a student in 1831, and in his first year attained a distinguished position in the class of experimental and natural philosophy, while in 1834–5 he was awarded the gold medal for chemistry. In 1835–6 he became a pupil of Richard Quain (1800–1887) [q. v.], professor of anatomy. He obtained the highest class honours in the session of 1836–7; spent three years in the wards of the hospital, and became house-surgeon to Robert Liston [q. v.] In 1841 he took the degree of bachelor of medicine with the highest honours at the London University, and in 1843–4 was appointed junior demonstrator of anatomy. On 3 May 1847 he was appointed assistant-surgeon to the North London (University College) Hospital. But he unhappily received a poisoned wound while dissecting a pelvis for Liston, and died of pyæmia a fortnight later. Potter was an excellent teacher, and helped to raise the medical school of University College to the high position which it has since maintained. A bust by Thomas Campbell, dated 1847, is in the anatomical museum of University College.

[Obituary notice in the Lancet, 1847, i. 576; Gent. Mag. 1847, ii. 100; additional facts kindly given to the writer by Sir J. Eric Erichsen, bart., F.R.S.]

D’A. P.

POTTER, PHILIP CIPRIANI HAMBL[E]Y (1792–1871), musician, born in London on 2 Oct. 1792, was godson of a sister of Giovanni Battista Cipriani [q. v.], the painter and teacher of music; his uncle was a well-known flute-player. At the age of seven Potter began to study music under his father, passing later under the care of Attwood, Crotch, Wölfl (pianoforte), and, it is said on doubtful authority, Dr. John Wall Callcott [q. v.] When the Philharmonic Society was instituted in March 1813, Potter became an associate, and, six months later, on attaining his majority, a member. He made his first public appearance under the auspices of that society on 29 April 1816, when he played the pianoforte in a sestet of his own composition; a month earlier the society had produced an overture which they had commissioned from him. In March of the following year he played a concerto of his own at the same concerts, but his works seem to have disappointed expectation, and he left England to study in Vienna. There he was a pupil of Aloys Förster, and became personally acquainted with many of the illustrious musicians of the day, including Beethoven, who wrote flatteringly of him to Ries (5 March 1818). After a stay of sixteen months in Vienna, Potter spent some time in Germany and Italy before returning to London in 1821. On 12 March of that year he played Mozart's D minor concerto at a Philharmonic concert in London.

When the Royal Academy of Music opened its doors in March 1823, Potter was appointed principal professor of the pianoforte there. In the following year his first symphony was played at a Philharmonic concert, and in 1827 he became director of the orchestral classes and conductor of the public concerts at the Royal Academy. On the retirement of Dr. William Crotch [q. v.] from that institution in 1832, Potter succeeded him as principal, a post he continued to hold until 1859, when he resigned all his appointments there. A presentation of plate was made him, and an exhibition bearing his name founded at the academy (cf. Corder, Royal Academy of Music, p. 127).

Potter ranked high among contemporary pianists, and to him is due the credit of having introduced into England Beethoven's concertos in C minor (1824) and G (1825) at the Philharmonic Society's concerts. For that society he wrote his own symphony in A minor, which was produced in 1833. Potter (though at first having no sympathy with Schumann's style) was one of the earliest English editors of that composer's works (for Wessel in 1857), and championed them at a time when the most prominent critics failed to recognise their excellences. He at length ‘seemed to set up a standard from the works of Schumann, by which he judged everything else which was presented to him with the exception … of Brahms’ (Musical Association's Proceedings, 10th Session, p. 54).

Potter was an auditor of the Bach Society, founded in 1849; conductor of the Madrigal Society from 1855 to 1870; treasurer of the Society of British Musicians, 1858 to 1865; and he frequently acted as conductor of the Philharmonic concerts. He is said to have