Sue Young Histories

Thomas Uwins 1782 - 1857

September 27, 2008

**Thomas Uwins **1782 - 1857 was an English painter.

Thomas Uwins claimed to be the oldest lay homeopath in England, and he was an active campaigner for homeopathy and a friend of Frederick Hervey Foster Quin, the first President of the British Homeopathic Society, and Marmaduke Blake Sampson, the Chairman of the British Homeopathic Association, and many other homeopaths.

Thomas Uwins was active in the foundation of the London Homeopathic Hospital, which was established at 32 Golden Square in 1851.

Thomas Uwins was also a friend of David Wilkie.

Thomas Uwins wrote about Samuel Hahnemann in his Memoirs, recalling that Frederick Hervey Foster Quin came out to Germany to study the system of Georg von Necker, but returned to Italy unimpressed. Thomas Uwins reports an attack in the press in Naples against Frederick Hervey Foster Quin, who was part of Thomas Uwins’ social circle in Italy.

Thomas Uwins apparently first met Frederick Hervey Foster Quin in 1825 and says ’I hardly know whether I most love him or admire him…’

In 1827 when Frederick Hervey Foster Quin was ’… only aged 26…’, Thomas Uwins writes excitedly to his friends in London that Frederick Hervey Foster Quin’s conversion to homeopathy was hard won but complete, and how Frederick Hervey Foster Quin learnt German in order to visit the homeopaths in Germany so that he ‘… had a right to talk about it…’

Thomas Uwins continues in this letter at some length to describe the success Frederick Hervey Foster Quin has had in Italy.

Also in 1827, Thomas Uwins writes to his friend Joseph Severn about Frederick Hervey Foster Quin ‘…our mutual friend…’ The correspondence between Thomas Uwins in Naples and Joseph Severn in Rome was to last for over 20 years, from 1825 to 1845.

In 1837, Thomas Uwins writes to his relatives ’… that you will soon have Frederick Hervey Foster Quin with you in London…’ and that he meant to also return to London ’as Naples will lose more than half its charms when it is no longer embellished with his cheerful countenance. Society will be robbed of its principal ornament, and for me his absence will create a blank in my existence which nothing can fill up…’

Thomas Uwins explains that without Frederick Hervey Foster Quin’s presence in Naples ‘… my hold on on Society is too feeble to be of any use…’ Uwins continues ’My prospects as a portrait painter in London may be thought good, especially now Quin is going to occupy a distinguished place in the very centre of the fashionable world…’ and ’Dr. Quin has just informed me that the Prince has expressed himself much pleased with my works…’

Thomas Uwins is very worried about his ability to furnish an expensive and fashionable establishment in London although ‘… Quin could and would serve me…” and that without Frederick Hervey Foster Quin to assist him, he is unable to gain the attention of prominent patrons in Naples.

When he becomes ill, Uwins relies on his mustard seed to keep him well, as without Frederick Hervey Foster Quin ‘… for now Quin is gone I should not know where to look… ’ for medical aid.

In 1828, Uwins laments ’I have lost Quin, and with him his connections and friends…’ and ’When Quin left the place, he left with me, as a gage d’amitie, a beautiful and valuable gold watch, which I never look at without thinking of him. In return, I am desirous he should have one of my best little pictures. I have finished one expressly for him, and Richard Acton has done me the honour to charge himself with presenting it…’ There follows the gift of several paintings from Thomas Uwins to Frederick Hervey Foster Quin.

Of interest:

Richard Acton died in 1837 so I wonder if Frederick Hervey Foster Quin got this painting?

David Uwins, Thomas’ brother converts to homeopathy in 1826:

In 1837 David Uwins published a pamphlet entitled: Homeopathy and Allopathy, or Large, Small, or Atomic Doses.

Marmaduke Blake Sampson, in Truths and Their Relation to Homeopathy (p. 5I), says: ‘Among the earliest persons who contended in England for a fair hearing of the doctrine were Dr. Uwins and William Kingdon, both practitioners of high repute. Dr. Uwins publicly urged before the London Medical Society that Hahnemann was worthy of the thanks of the profession for his unwearied industry in ascertaining the properties of medicines, and he also averred that, from cases which had come under his own observation, the system was one that was not to be put down with derision, and that it would eventually overcome all opposition.

‘For this Dr. Uwins was assailed as a madman, and there is every reason to believe that, being of a sensitive and refined nature, his death which took place shortly afterwards was accelerated by this conduct of his colleagues.’