William Ewart was the son of an English father and French mother and obtained his first degree at Paris University. He -entered St. George’s Hospital in 1869 and, although his studies were interrupted by service as a medical officer with the French army in the War of 1870, he succeeded in qualifying in 1871. After acting as house physician in the Hospital, he entered Caius College, Cambridge, in 1873, won a scholarship in 1875, and took first-class honours in the natural sciences tripos in 1876. From 1875 to 1876 he was also a house physician at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. Having graduated in 1877 and paid a postgraduate visit to Berlin, he returned to St. George’s Hospital as a lecturer and demonstrator. Pathologist in 1879, he became assistant physician in 1882 and physician in 1887. He was also physician to the Belgrave Hospital for Children, but his most fruitful association was with the Brompton Hospital where, as assistant physician until 1887, he developed a dominating interest in thoracic disease which, with climatological reports, was the principal subject of his writings. Ewart gave the Goulstonian Lectures of 1882 at the Royal College of Physicians and examined for the Conjoint Board and Cambridge and Durham Universities. Skilful in the art of physical examination, especially in auscultation and percussion, he was a conscientious but eccentric teacher, alternating between brevity and diffuseness. His devotion to hospital work and his uncongenial manner combined to account for his relative failure in practice. A devout Roman Catholic and a bachelor, he made his club, the Athenaeum, and music his chief interests outside his work.
G H Brown
[Lancet, 1929; B.M.J., 1929; Presidential Address to R.C.P., 1930, 10]