Mark Akenside

Mark Akenside (1721-1770) was an English physician and poet.

Akenside was one of the first to describe the external manifestations of von Recklinghausen disease (NF-1) and provided the first English description in 1768 as well as ‘Contusio cordis‘ (1763)

A respected poet, his most acclaimed work ‘The Pleasures of the Imagination – a poem, in three books’ was first published in 1744.

  • Born on November 9, 1721 Newcastle upon Tyne, England
  • Born to a family of English Dissenters (Protestant Christians who separated from the Church of England), he was removed from Newcastle Grammar school and taught in the ways of the ministry.
  • 1739 – Enrolled at University of Edinburgh to study theology, but switched to the study of ‘physic’
  • 1740 – Graduated medicine, University of Edinburgh
  • 1744 – MD, University of Leyden. D.M.I. de Ortu et Incremento Fœtus Humani.
  • 1751 – Licentiate of the College of Physicians
  • 1752 – MD, Cambridge University
  • 1755 – Gulstonian Lecturer; Croonian Lecturer (1756); and Harveian orator (1759)
  • 1759 – Physician to St. Thomas’s hospital
  • 1761 – Physician in ordinary to the Queen
  • Died 23 June 1770

Key Medical Attributions

Major Publications

The Pleasures of the Imagination – a poem, in three books’ was first published in 1744.

  • Book I: defines the powers of imagination and pleasure that can be derived from the perception of beauty;
  • Book II: distinguishes works of imagination from philosophy;
  • Book III: describes the pleasure to be found in the study of man, the sources of ridicule, the operations of the mind, in producing works of imagination, and the influence of imagination on morals.


Welsh junior doctor graduated from Cardiff Medical School with MBBCh and BSc in Medical Education. Currently working in emergency medicine in Perth, Australia. Aim to commence GP training in the UK in 2022.

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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