Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 53.djvu/220

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


SOLLY, EDWARD (1819–1886), chemist and antiquary, was born in London on 11 Oct. 1819, and studied chemistry in Berlin. In 1836, at the age of seventeen, he published a paper ‘On the conducting power of iodine, &c., for electricity’ (Phil. Mag. viii. 130), and in 1838 was appointed chemist to the Royal Asiatic Society. In the same year he was elected a member of the Society of Arts. He was appointed lecturer in chemistry at the Royal Institution in 1841, where he was associated with Faraday, and he published numerous papers on the chemistry of plants and on agriculture. He was elected an honorary member of the Royal Agricultural Society in 1842, and published a valuable work on ‘Rural Chemistry’ (1843; 3rd ed. 1850). On 19 Jan. 1843 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London, and in 1845 became professor of chemistry in the military college at Addiscombe. A syllabus of his lectures on chemistry appeared in 1849. In 1845 and 1846, as honorary professor to the Horticultural Society, he conducted a series of experiments respecting the alleged influence of electricity upon vegetable growth.

Solly's last scientific paper appeared in 1849. From that date he was associated with the Gresham Life Assurance Society, of which he remained a director until his death. He was one of the promoters of the Great Exhibition of 1851, and acted as a juror; while from 9 June 1852 to 4 May 1853 he was secretary to the Society of Arts.

Solly collected a large library, which was particularly rich in eighteenth-century literature; and his wide genealogical and literary knowledge was always at the service of ‘Notes and Queries,’ the ‘Bibliographer,’ and the ‘Antiquary,’ and other periodicals of a similar character. In 1879 he edited ‘Hereditary Titles of Honour’ for the Index Society, of which body he was treasurer. He died at his residence, Camden House, Sutton, Surrey, 2 April 1886.

He married Miss Alice S. Wayland on 13 Sept. 1851, and left five daughters. His library was sold at Sotheby's, London, in November 1886. He presented to the National Gallery an anonymous picture called ‘A Venetian Painter.’

[Obituary Notices in the Antiquary, Academy, and Journ. Soc. Arts (9 April 1886); Royal Society's Cat. Scientific Papers; Ronald's Cat. of Books on Electricity, p. 480; Men of the Time, 11th ed.; Notes and Queries, 7th ser. passim; personal knowledge.]

G. A. J. C.

SOLLY, SAMUEL (1805–1871), surgeon, son of Isaac Solly, a Baltic merchant, was born on 13 May 1805 in Jeffrey Square, St. Mary Axe. Solly was educated under Eliezer Cogan [q. v.] of Higham Hill, Walthamstow, where Disraeli, Dr. Hampden, afterwards bishop of Hereford, and Russell Gurney, were among his schoolfellows. He was articled, somewhat against the wish of his father, in May 1822, to Benjamin Travers [q. v.], surgeon to St. Thomas's Hospital, and he was one of the last of the surgeons to a London hospital who succeeded to his post by the payment of a large apprenticeship fee. He was admitted a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England on 9 May 1828, and he then went to Paris to continue his medical studies. He commenced practice in his father's premises at St. Mary Axe in 1831, moving to St. Helen's in 1837, to Aston Key's house, on the death of that surgeon, in 1849, and afterwards to Savile Row. From 1833 to 1839 he was lecturer on anatomy and physiology in the medical school of St. Thomas's Hospital. He was appointed assistant-surgeon to St. Thomas's Hospital in 1841; twelve years later he became full surgeon, and was appointed lecturer on surgery. He was called upon to resign the office of surgeon in 1865, under a new rule which required the medical officers to retire at the age of sixty. He pleaded that the rule was not retrospective, and was reappointed till he should have completed his term of twenty years as full surgeon. His health gave way, however, and he resigned before the expiration of his term of office. Elected a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1843, he became a member of its council in 1856, and was twice a vice-president. He was elected a member of the court of examiners in 1867, and held the post of Arris and Gale professor of human anatomy and surgery in 1862. He was president of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society in 1867–8, and became a fellow of the Royal Society in 1836. He died suddenly at 6 Savile Row on 24 Sept. 1871, and was buried at Chislehurst, Kent.

He married, on 22 May 1834, Jane, daughter of the Rev. Joseph Barrett, and by her had seven sons and four daughters.

Solly was a skilful operator, a florid lecturer, and a good clinical teacher; his opinion was specially sought in cases of injuries to the head and in diseases of the joints. He had a taste for art, and was skilful in the use of brush and pencil; his watercolour pictures more than once adorned the walls of the Royal Academy (Graves, Dict. of Artists, p. 220). He made his own lecture illustrations, many of which were purchased by the authorities of St. Thomas's Hospital in 1841.

After his death a marble bust was presented to St. Thomas's Hospital, and a Solly