Benjamin Hoadly, physician and playwright

A portrait of Benjamin Hoadly William Hogarth,
c.1749, Gallery of New South Wales, Australia

Benjamin Hoadly (1706-1757), son of the bishop of Winchester, had a distinguished medical career. He obtained his doctorate in 1728, was appointed to the Royal Society, became physician to the Royal family in 1742 and in January 1746 “physician to the household of the Prince of Wales”. He wrote several medical works, including Three letters on the Organs of Respiration  and Observations on a Series of Electrical experiments. Friend of the famous actor David Garrick, he took a great interest in the theatre. His only printed play, The Suspicious Husband, was first performed at Covent Garden in 1747 and  later at Drury Lane. It was dedicated to George II, who rewarded the author with the sum of £ 100; and was described by critics as “the most popular comedy of the Garrick era at Drury Lane” and as a “laughing comedy” typical of that era. Another comedy, The Tatler, was never printed and not staged until 1797, when its author had been dead for forty years.



  1. Unger, T. (1996). English plays on the Gotha stage: Friedrich Wilhelm Gotter’s translation of Benjamin Hoadly’s comedy The Suspicious Husband (1747). Retrieved from



GEORGE DUNEA, MD, Editor-in-Chief

Winter 2013  |  Sections  |  Physicians of Note