George Viner Ellis, F.R.C.S

1900 BMJ (Clinical Research Edition)  
Tin BRiTI ]5 '1 132MIcLouzi OBITUARY. IMAY 5, I9OO of Holmgren's test for dyschromatopsy. It would be instructive to know whether the defect of colour sense in the cases cited by Mr. Bickerton would be revealed by a test that has quite recently been reintroduced by Professor Hermann Cohn of Breslau. This method of determining the acuteness of colour perception is based on the phenomenon of simultaneous contrast, and in the form arranged by Professor Cohn it is, he maintains, a much more
more » ... e detector of colour blindness than are the wools. The results obtained by me during the short time the test has been at my disposal accord with that opinion; certain individuals who betray no deficiency by Holmgren's method wholly fail to discern Cohn's type until supplied with the appropriate monochromatic corrective medium.-I am, etc., Wakefield Asylum, April 17th. WE regret to announce the death of ProfessorViner Ellis, well known to several generations of University College men as their Professor of Anatomy. He passed away at an advanced age on April 25th at his residence, Severn Bank, Ministerworth, Gloucester. He received his professional education at University College, and became M.R.C.S. in I835. On December iIth, 1843, he was elected oneof the original Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. He was for many years demonstrator in University College under Professor Richard Quain, whom in I85o he succeeded in the Chair of Anatomy. This he continued to fill till 1877, when he resigned, with the title of Emeritus Professor. Since then he has lived in retirement in the country. To the present generation Professor Ellis is only magni nominis umbra; but in his day he was one of the ruling spirits of the world of anatomy in this country. He gave his whole working life to the study and teaching of his chosen subject. Though too austere and unsympathetic in manner and strict in discipline to be popular with the great body of students, he was held in the highest respect by all, and in almost affectionate regard by a chosen few. Though he disdained the art of clothing the dry bones of anatomy with any flesh of human interest, his lectures were so exact in detail and so clear in expression that they were always listened to with close attention if not with pleasure. Ellis always had perfect command of his class. On one occasion when Professor Robert Grant, at that time extremely old and feeble, found his class unmanageable he called Ellis to his aid. The redoubtable Professor of Anatomy had a brief but convincing interview with the unruly spirits, who thenceforth displayed the most lamblike demeanour in " poor old Grant's " lecture room. Ellis had a great objection to smoking and would not suffer the practice in his dissecting room. The students, it is said, once petitioned the Council for leave to purify the atmosphere of the practical anatomy rooms with tobacco; the petition was granted, whereupon the Professor at once tendered his resignation, which was withdrawn only when he had received assurances that he should never again be asked to tolerate the accursed thing. Some men whose names are now well known in the profession will doubtless remember his anger when, returning unexpectedly after a short absence, he found a comfortable party of smokers round one of the stoves. Ellis was a most conscientious teacher, and had the credit of his College greatly at heart. Nothing distressed him more than any disaster to his students at the examination table; and on one occasion when University College had cut a particularly poor figure in the lists, he appealed to his class, with tears rolling down his face, to remove this disgrace from him. He spent the greater part of his time in the dissecting-room, and many readers will remember his habit of looking in after his midday lecture and sniffing the air as if to get an appetite for his lunch. In the afternoon he would go-round from one dissector to another and, as Napoleon used to pull the ears of officers whom he distinguished with his favour, Ellis would show his liking for an industrious worker by patting him on the shoulder with hands too visibly subdued to that they workedl in-a mark of approval not always properly appreciated by the object of it. To some specially privileged ones the old man would often unbend in playful gossip, the hard face wrinkling every now and then into kindly smiles. On such occasions, if he found a sympathetic listener, he would reveal unsuspected depths of knowledge and feeling, telling stories of the resurrection men, some of whom he had known, and discoursing on subjects so remote from the supposed narrow rut of his interests as the Elizabethan poets. As an anatomist, he was an expounder rather than a discoverer. He was described in a college epitaph as Beloved by few, and feared by many, Discoverer of the corrugator ani.
doi:10.1136/bmj.1.2053.1132 fatcat:u2gljebiabexld2rx4w47xkodq