Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

John Chamber, physician to Henry VIII

John Chamber, 1542. Hans Holbein. Oil and tempera on oak, 51cm x 54 cm. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.


John Chamber (Chambre) (ca. 1477–1549) became master of arts in 1502, then traveled to Italy to obtain a degree in physic at the University of Padua. On his return to England he became physician to King Henry VIII. In 1518 with Drs. Linacre and others he founded the Royal College of Physicians. He also held several ecclesiastical positions, becoming canon of Windsor (1510), archdeacon of Bedford (1524), warden of Merton college in Oxford (1525), and about the same time, dean of the royal chapel at Westminster. In 1531 he received a doctorate of physic at Oxford. Hans Holbein painted his portrait in 1542, when he was 72. It was recorded in an 1813 biographical dictionary of “the lives and writings of the most eminent persons” that “he never published anything.” He has often been erroneously confused with John Chambers, a Benedictine monk, who became bishop of Peterborough in 1541 and died in 1556.



GEORGE DUNEA, MD, Editor-in-Chief

Highlighted in Frontispiece Summer 2012 – Volume 4, Issue 3
Summer 2012  |  Sections  |  Physicians of Note

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