Key, Sir Charles Aston (1793-1849), British surgeon and surgery lecturer.

  • Key, C. Aston (Charles Aston), 1793-1849.
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


11 autographed letters (four dated 1836-39, seven undated) and a cut out signature (from an undated letter) of Charles Aston Key (1793-1849).

Letters mostly discuss cases or are personal testimonials. Correspondents include Mr Desormeaux ("Surgeon from Islington"); Sir William Blizard, chairman of the Board of Curators; Sir William Dillon.



Physical description

1 file (12 items)

Acquisition note

Purchased from: Sotheby's, London, July 1927 (acc.45847); Desgranges, Paris, October 1935 (acc.69099); Mrs. Watson, Burnley, March 1945 (acc.72200), presumably once part of the Thomas Madden Stone autograph collection; Bloomsbury Book Auctions, London, October 1992 (acc.349050).

Two items transferred from store, February 1934, acquisition details not known (67433)

Biographical note

Charles Aston Key (who used the name of "Aston Key" from 1820s) (1793-1849), the son of the physician Thomas Key, was pupil at the medical school at Guy's Hospital (from 1814) and a demonstrator of anatomy at St Thomas's hospital. In 1815 he became apprenticed to Astley Paston Cooper (1768-1841). In 1821 he became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons and assistant surgeon at Guy’s Hospital, where he also gave lectures on surgery (obtaining Surgical Teachership there in 1825). In 1845 he was elected a member of the Council of RCS. Key earned himself a reputation as a highly skilled/dextrous operator, publishing many works on the topic of hernia and lithotomy and was one of the first to use ether as an anaesthetic. He had a busy and lucrative practice and was appointed surgeon to Prince Albert in 1847. He died of cholera in 1849.

Related material

At Wellcome Collection:

PP/HO/D/B51: A testimonial from C. Aston Key, accompanying Thomas Hodgkin's application for post of Physician to Asylum Life Assurance Company (1827).


Where to find it

  • LocationStatusAccess
    Closed stores

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