Patrick Blair (c.1680–1728), botanist and surgeon, was born in Perthshire. He was apprenticed to a surgeon-apothecary from the late 1680s, possibly in Coupar Angus, Perthshire, where he was later in practice. Between 1694 and 1697 he was in the Low Countries, mainly Flanders, where he practised surgery and also made botanical observations. Blair was in Dundee by 1700, and in 1701 advertised a projected anatomical handbook in the Edinburgh Gazette (where he is identified as ‘surgeon-apothecary of Dundee’).
In 1712 Blair was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, and in the same year was granted an MD from King’s College, Aberdeen, on the rolls of which he is identified as residing in Coupar Angus. Blair also enrolled an apprentice in Coupar Angus in that year. He contributed several more papers to the Philosophical Transactions, mainly on botanical subjects. Blair corresponded with Hans Sloane and James Petiver on these topics. He had been introduced to Sloane by Charles Preston in 1705.
Blair came from a family of Jacobites and was acquainted with the Jacobite physician Archibald Pitcairne, as well as with the earl of Mar. In 1715 Blair joined Lord Nairn’s battalion as a surgeon and was taken prisoner at Preston.
Cornelius Little to Hans Sloane, 1732-07-02, Sloane MS 4052, ff. 140-141, British Library, London
Anita Guerrini, ‘Blair, Patrick (c.1680–1728)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/2568, accessed 3 Sept 2017]
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