Laurence Austine Waddell

Surgeon, Collector in Tibet, Explorer

Waddell originally trained as a surgeon and chemist at Glasgow University. He joined the British Army and became an officer for the Indian Medical Service. He was stationed in and worked on campaigns in Burma and India, but in 1888 he was appointed Principal Medical Officer and Deputy Sanitary Commissioner for Darjeeling area.

It was from here that he was able to travel in Tibetan cultural areas, including Sikkim and the borders of Nepal and Tibet, he wrote several articles and books including, 'Buddhism of Tibet or Lamaism' (1895), began collecting objects (including a complete Tibetan lhakang, or shrine) and Tibetan manuscripts, he also learned Tibetan.

In 1903 he was appointed to the dual role of Mission Collector and Medical Officer to the Mission to Lhasa led by Colonel (later Sir) Francis Younghusband. The looting/collecting undertaken was on an enormous scale and several hundred mules loaded with crates of objects and manuscripts made their way over the Himalayas to the Indian Museum, Calcutta where Waddell's assistant David Macdonald catalogued the collection.

Shortly after, he returned to England and became Professor of Tibetan at University College London, but retired soon after to write. Waddell then turned his attentions to Sumeria and the Near East.
  • Gender
  • Relationship
  • Nationality
  • Born
  • Place of birth
    Europe: Northern Europe: UK: Scotland: Lanarkshire: Glasgow
  • Died
  • Place of death
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Cause of death
    Unknown or unrecorded
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