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William Anderson FRCS (18 December 1842 – 27 October 1900) was a Scottish surgeon, Professor of Anatomy at the Royal Academy in London, and an important collector and scholar of Japanese art. He was the first chairman of the Japan Society. Between 1882 and 1900, Anderson donated his collection of approximately 2000 of Japanese illustrated woodcut books to what is now the British Library. He was the author of a pioneering Descriptive and historical account of a collection of Japanese and Chinese paintings in the British Museum (1886); and Pictorial arts of Japan (1886).

Anderson was educated at the City of London School, the Lambeth School of Art (where he was awarded a medal for artistic anatomy) and St Thomas's Hospital (where he also won numerous prizes). He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1869. At St Thomas's Hospital, he was in 1871 appointed surgical registrar and assistant demonstrator of anatomy. In 1873, he moved to Tokyo, Japan, where he was professor of anatomy and surgery at the Imperial Naval Medical College, and gave lectures both in English and in Japanese, which he learned for that purpose. Here, he assembled his collections and began his study of Japanese art. He was eventually, in 1895, appointed as a knight commander of the Japanese order of the Rising Sun.

He returned to St Thomas's Hospital in London in 1880, and eventually became senior lecturer on anatomy. He was elected professor of anatomy at the Royal Academy in 1891.

He was twice married.

External links


William Anderson - The Pictorial Arts of Japan and Other Writings, 3 vols., edited by Akiko Mabuchi, Tokyo: Edition Synapse ISBN 978-4-86166-028-3


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