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Portrait of Sir Henry Holland (1788-1873)
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Sir Henry Holland, Bart., M.D., F.R.S., D.C.L

Portrait of Sir Henry Holland (1788-1873)
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Born: in Knutsford, 27 October 1788 and died 27 October 1873.
Son of: Peter Holland (1766-1855) and Mary Holland (nee Willits, 1766-1803)
Brother of:
1. Mary Holland (1790-1790).
2. Mary Holland (1791-1792).
3. Mary Holland (1792-1877).
4. Elizabeth (Bessy) Howorth nee Holland, (1796-1886) who married Reverend Franklin Howorth (1804-1882).
5. Charles Aikin Holland (1798-1892).
6. Lucy Holland (1800-1883).
Henry married:
1st: in Audley Church, 8 October 1822, Margaret Emma Caldwell (1792-1830), daughter of James Caldwell (1759-1838) and Elizabeth Caldwell (nee Stamford, 1754-1831)
2nd: in 1834 Saba Smith (1802-1866), daughter of the Rev. Sydney Smith and Caroline Pybus.
Henry and his first wife Margaret had issue:
1. Henry Thurstan Holland 1st Vis, Lord Knutsford (1825-1914) who married 1st Elizabeth Margaret Hibbert (1834-1855), 2nd Margaret Jean Trevelyan (1835-1906).
2. Rev Francis James Holland (1828-1907) who married Mary Sibylia Lyall (1836-1891).
3. Emily Mary Buxton (nee Holland, 1824-1908) who married Charles Buxton (1823-1871).
4. Elinor Anne Holland, born 6 August 1826, baptised 25 September 1827 at Brook Street Chapel, Knutsford, died August 1829.
Henry and his second wife Saba had issue:
1. Caroline Holland who was born about 1835 at St George's, Hanover Square, London.  Died 1909.
2. Gertrude Holland who was born about 1841 at St George's, Hanover Square, London. 
3. Edith Saba Holland (1838-1838). 

Portrait Photograph of Sir Henry Holland taken in 1861. (1788-1873) Physician Extraordinary to Queen Victoria.
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Sir Henry Holland

Portrait of Sir Henry Holland (1788-1873) 
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Sir Henry Holland: An Overview

We know about Sir Henry Holland from the following sources:
1. His Autobiography 'Recollections of Past Life'.
2. Mention in various letters and diaries in the Heath-Caldwell family archive.
3. Appendix B of 'Elizabeth Gaskell: The Early Years', Manchester U.P, 1997, by John Chapple.
4. John Chapple's article in The Gaskell Society Journal 21 (2007), entitled ' "A Tangled Bank": Willets, Wedgwood, Darwin and Holland Families'
5. Lots of information on the internet.

Henry lead what could be described as a charmed life.  He was born 27 October 1788 in Knutsford (as he wryly notes in his autobiography - "a year before the French Revolution").  His maternal grandmother was Catherine Wedgwood, sister of the potter Josiah Wedgwood.  Henry was also a cousin of Mrs Gaskell the novelist.  His father was a doctor and so the young Henry no doubt learned a lot about this profession from an early age.  However his real passion was for travelling.  He started making regular journeys, spending approx two months every year travelling to far off places and often recording his journey and the things that took his interest.  He did not actually graduate from University until 1811 and shortly afterwards served as physician to the young Princess Victoria while she was on a grand tour around Europe.  During this time Henry made a lot of very high level acquaintances and connections which were to serve him well. 

Unlike most doctors Henry never spent time working in a hospital which raises the question how much experience and knowledge of medicine did he actually have?  Judging by his patients his knowledge must have been fairly good as he was certainly very well thought of.  As well as serving as physician to Queen Victoria he was also doctor to six Prime Ministers and he became President of the Royal Institution of Great Britain.

His two months of travelling each year does not appear to have affected his professional practice in the least.  He believed that travel rejuvenated the soul and gave him fresh impetus to return to his work in London.  In fact he attributed his good health and longevity to this annual sortie, and even completed an extended tour of Russia in the last year of his life, at the age of 85.

In 1810, while still a student, he took a trip to Iceland, recording his experiences in a journal. Although not published at the time the Hakluyt Society decided its content worthy of printing some 177 years later (see "The Iceland Journal of Henry Holland, 1810", published 1987).

Shortly after completing his medical degree at Edinburgh in 1811 he undertook an extensive tour of South-Eastern Europe. He published an account of his observations in "Travels In The Ionian Isles, Albania, Thessaly, Macedonia, &c. during the Years 1812-13".  On this trip he spent two months in Albania, and was in frequent contact with Ali Pasha, to whom he acted as physician. Apart from showing Henry to be an observant and perceptive young man, the book demonstrates his considerable drawing skill, for it includes a dozen engravings taken from his sketches. In addition to his travel writings he published numerous medical books and articles for professional journals throughout his life.

He was apparently a well known person in London society and seems to have known professionally or privately a great many of the leading writers and politicians of his time.  In the 1820s his residence was Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, where he lived up until his death in 1873.

We are fortunate to have a comprehensive account of Henry Holland's life, for he didn't undertake to write his memoirs until his 82nd year.  In his 'Recollections of Past Life' he shows a remarkable degree of discretion, despite the enormous potential that must have presented itself for recounting personal incidents involving famous personalities from society.  Sadly he does not record any reference of his family.


Family of Sir Henry Holland
Henry married twice, first at Audley 8th October 1822, Margaret Emma Holland (nee Caldwell, 1792-1830, known as Emma), daughter of James Caldwell of Linley Wood, Staffordshire.  Emma and Henry had two sons and one daughter.  Emma died tragically 2 February 1830 after the birth of her third child. 

In 1834 Henry married Saba Smith, daughter of the Rev. Sydney Smith.  Saba and Henry had two daughters.  Saba died 2 November 1866.

The Holland family appear to have been very close friends with the family of Margaret's sister Anne Marsh-Caldwell and Arthur Marsh.  This friendship continued long after Emma's death.  In fact Henry's second wife Saba was treated very much like a Sister-in-Law and Aunt to the Marsh family.


If you have an interest in the Holland family, you may wish to contact Jonathan Clennell This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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