This portrait of Dr Richard Russell was painted by Benjamin Wilson in about 1755. Russell was a medical doctor who popularised sea water cures and promoted Brighton as a health resort.
Mind your language
In 1752 Russell published his Dissertation on the Use of Sea Water in the Diseases of the Glands. The book proved enormously popular and many wealthy visitors flocked to his practice in Brighton seeking treatment.
Brighton’s rapid growth into the city we know today owes much to the influence of this book. But many people don’t realise that Russell’s book was originally published in Latin: it was first published in 1750 under the title of De Tabe Grandulari.
Zoom in on the painting and you can see that it is the Latin copy of the book that is depicted here. Even though the English version was in print by the time this painting was commissioned, Russell was probably keen to present himself as a man of learning.
Author: Kevin Bacon, Digital Manager