Credit: ©The Royal Society
    Image number: RS.15188

    French youth with horns on his hands and feet

    24 May 1678
    Unknown, Artist
    Object type
    Archive reference number
    Manuscript page number
    height (drawing): 214mm
    width (drawing): 148mm
    Content object
    Drawing of a woman and her son with abnormally long 'nails' on his fingers and toes, with further details of those excrescences. John Locke encountered this youth at la Charité hospital in Paris and obtained eight of the excrescences, which were shown at the Royal Society on 24 February 1697. His account was published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, vol. 19, no. 230 (1697) with figures of the excrescences, but not this image of the youth and his mother.

    Locke was staying in France between 1675 and 1679, after the fall of his patron, the Earl of Shaftesbury. In the first half of 1678, he was staying in Paris.
    Object history
    At the meeting of the Royal Society on 24 February 1697, 'Dr Sloane presented from Mr Locke 8 horny excrescences or nails one of wch was of a prodigious length, ye person who had on all his fingers & toes was in prodigious pain when any thing touch’d ym. They came after ye small pox, they had been taken of by ye surgeon in his presence in ye Charite Hospitall at Pairs in ye year 1678' (JBO/10/17).

    J. Locke, 'An Account of One Who Had Horny Excrescencies or Extraordinary Large Nails on His Fingers and Toes', Phil. Trans., vol. 19, no. 230 (1697), pp. 594-96.
    Related fellows
    John Locke (1632 - 1704, British) , Philosopher
    Associated place
    <The World>
       > Europe
          > France
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