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Thomas Brown
(1774-1853)

Thomas Brown of Lanfine, a Doctor of Medicine, was one of the great 19th-century Scottish mineral collectors. The son of a wealthy surgeon and banker (also named Thomas Brown) in Glasgow, he studied medicine at Edinburgh University and was appointed a Lecturer in Botany at Glasgow University in 1799, a post he held until 1815.

Brown succeeded his cousin to the Lanfine and Waterhoughs estates in 1829, and also inherited other valuable property. His written catalog of minerals was begun in 1832, but he had clearly been collecting since at least 1816, when he records finding "blende" (later shown to be greenockite) at Kilpatrick. He purchased or exchanged mineral specimens with many other collectors of his day, including Henry Heuland, James Sowerby, August Krantz, Sir William Hooker, William Nicol, Prof. William Buckland, Gideon Mantell, Archduke Maximilian, Alex Rose, and many others.

Brown eventually reached specimen number 5,473 in his catalog. Of the Lanfine mineral and fossil collection (also known as the Waterhaughs Collection, after the name of his estates in Ayrshire) some 3,000 specimens were donated by his daughter to the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow University, and a further 600 minerals went to the Edinburgh University Museum.
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