(1763 – 1856)
Crichton recieved his M.D. from Leyden in 1785. He perfected his medical skills by studying throughout Europe. In 1804 came an appointment as personal physician to Tsar Alexander I of Russia. Upon retiring from this post, he returned to England. Crichton wrote several books dealing with medical and geological subjects, and held membership in many societies, including F.L.S., 1793, F.R.S., 1800 & F.G.S, 1819. While living in Russia he contiuned to add to his mineral collection begun years before. It eventually consisted of over 4,000 specimens of the highest quality from localities throughout the world
Biographical references: Allibone, Dictionary of English Literature, 1859-71. Appleby, J.H., "Sir Alexander Crichton, F.R.S. (1763-1856), imperial Russian physician at large", Notes and Records of the Royal Society, 53, (1999), no. 2, 219-30. BBA: I 282, 363. Boase, Modern English Biography, 1892-1921. Cleevely, World Palæontological Collections, 1983: 91. DNB: 13, 85 [by G.C. Boase]. Finger, S. and H.W. Buckingham, "Alexander Crichton (1763-1856). Discoverer of fluent speech and associationist theory", Archives of Neurology, 51, (1994), no. 5, 498-503. Munk, W., The roll of the Royal College of Physicians of London. 2nd edition. London, 1878. 3 vols. Poggendorff: 3, 1896. Quarterly Journal of Geological Society of London: 13 (1857), lxiv-lxvi. Tansey, E.M. "The life and works of Sir Alexander Crichton, F.R.S. (1763-1856): a Scottish physician to the Imperial Russian Court", Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London, 38, (1984), no. 2, 241-59. Watt, Bibliotheca Britannica, 1824. WBI. Wilson, History of Mineral Collecting, 1994: 46, 47, 56, 80 & 81-2.Notizen über die Mineralien-Sammlung Sr. Excellenz Des Herren Dr's Alexander's Von Crichton, ... Von Joseph Friedrich Wagner (Moskwa, 1818).
See under: Wagner, Joseph Friedrich.
1. English, 1826 [Sale notice].
Notice | Of A Magnificent | Cabinet Of Minerals | Which Will Be Offered For Sale, | By | Public Auction, | In The Ensuing April and May, | If not previously disposed of by Private Contract. | [double rule] | London: | Published By G.B. Sowerby, 107 & 156, Regent-Street, | Who will conduct the Sale, and to whom all Communications relating | to the Collection are to be addressed. | [rule] | December, 1826.
8°: -23,  p. Page size: 180 x 105 mm.
Contents: [1-2], Title page, verso blank.; , "Notice, &c."; , Blank.; -23, Text.; [1 pg], Advertisement.
Rare. This notice was printed in anticipation of a unique auction of minerals in the upcoming spring. Crichton had decided to retire from public life, and he commissioned G.B. Sowerby [see note below] to sell his large mineral collection. Efforts were made by Sowerby to sell the accumulation en block, but no purchaser was forthcoming. This notice was published to tantalize prospective bidders at the auction to be held in the coming spring. It lists highlights of the collection, most notably rare crystallized specimens from Russia.
George Brettingham Sowerby. (Born: 12 May 1788; Died: 26 July 1854) English conchologist, natural history dealer & artist-publisher. Sowerby assisted his father in the preparation and publication of various natural history works, including Mineral Chonchology (London, 1812-22) and The Genera of Recent and Fossil Shells (London, 1820-34).
Bibliographical references: (Sowerby) Cleevely, World Palæontological Collections, 1983: p. 271. • Cleevely, Bibliography of the Sowerby Family, 1974 [see p. 510-4]. • Cleevely, Malacological Pioneers, 1995: 397-8. • Dance, Shell Collecting, 1966: 142-3 & 152-3. • DNB: 53, 304. • Gentleman's Magazine: 1854 (ii), 406. • Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London: 2 (1855), 415-6.
2. English, 1827 [Sale catalog].
Sir Alexander Crichton's | Minerals. | [rule] | Catalogue | of a | Magnificent Collection of Minerals, | and | Precious Stones, | Formed With Unremitting Attention And At Unsparing Expence | During Thirty Years, | By Sir Alexander Crichton, M.D. F.R.S. &c. | Which will be Sold by Auction, | by | [rule] | Mr. G.B. Sowerby, | [rule] | At His Room, | No. 107, Quadrant, Regent Street, | On Friday, April 20th, 1827, | And Following Days, | At Half-past Twelve o'Clock precisely each Day. | [ornate rule] | Catalogues may be had at 156, Regent Street, and at the Room, where the Collection may be | viewed serveral Days previous, and Mornings of the Sale. | [rule] | Stieling, Printer, 20, Ironmonger Lane, Cheapside.
8°: -128 p. Page size: 215 x 170 mm.
Contents: [1-2], Title page, verso "Conditions of Sale."; -128, Text.
Rare. A lengthy sale catalog containing 2,600 lots of minerals. The sale was held over 16 days, and major purchasers included J.H. Heuland and the British Museum. Based upon the writing of the catalogue entries, Embry (1976) speculates this catalog was prepared with Heuland's assistance.
Bibliographical references: Chalmers-Hunt, Natural History Auctions, 1976: 43..