George Cheyne (1671 or 73-1743): 18th-century physician

J Med Biogr. 2011 May;19(2):49-55. doi: 10.1258/jmb.2010.010028.


George Cheyne was a well-known physician with a practice in Bath and London. He was a fat, jovial Scotsman weighing 32 stone at one time and with a great sense of humour who could be classed as one of the characters of the period. His health suffered seriously from eating and drinking too much in taverns with his 'bottle companions' when young, and he spent the rest of his life writing books for the public to help them avoid the problems he had experienced, with a particular emphasis on diet and nervous disorders. His book entitled An Essay on Health and Long Life had particular success. Although often lampooned, he had many famous patients including Beau Nash, Samuel Richardson, The Countess of Huntingdon and Catherine Walpole, the eldest daughter of the Prime Minister Robert Walpole. He was a skilled and caring doctor and health educator, and has been said to have established the agenda for psychiatric epidemiology.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Books / history*
  • Diet / history*
  • England
  • History, 17th Century
  • History, 18th Century
  • Humans
  • London
  • Mental Disorders / history*
  • Nervous System Diseases / history*
  • Obesity / history
  • Physicians / history*
  • Publishing / history
  • Scotland

Personal name as subject

  • George Cheyne