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BDA unveils restored Victorian painting of leading Irish dentist, Richard Theodore Stack

23 May 2019



Newly-installed BDA President Roz McMullan unveiled a restored Victorian painting of Irish dentist, Richard Theodore Stack at the recent BDA Linsday Society Lecture in London

Thanks to the support of the BDA Northern Ireland Branch, the gilded-frame has been restored to its former glory.

Richard Theodore Stack was one of the founders of the Irish Branch of the British Dental Association (BDA) and became the president of the BDA in 1897. He was also the first dentist to be elected an Honorary Member of the BDA in 1899.

Stack was a brilliant student and was awarded many scholarships and obtained his MD and MCh in 1875. He was attached to the Richmond Hospital in England and was a Demonstrator in Anatomy at the University Medical School. Following a serious illness, he became increasingly deaf and had to resign from his doctor's post. 

He returned to Ireland and sought advice about his future career options, deciding on dentistry as a good option. He went to America to study at Harvard University and qualified with a DMD in 1877. He then returned home to Ireland and practiced as a dentist in Dublin. 

He played an important part in the establishment of the Dublin Dental School in 1879 and in 1884 he was appointed as the first Professor of Dentistry in Dublin Dental School. 

His great contribution to dentistry and to the BDA culminated in his becoming our President in 1897. 

On unveiling the restored painting, BDA President Roz McMullan said:

“Richard Theodore Stack was an incredible dentist, overcoming great personal adversity to be a dentist, and was a leading light for our professional association. He transformed the practice of dentistry in Ireland and founded the first dental hospital and first dental school in the country.”

“I am so pleased to see this important painting restored, and to have it proudly displayed at the BDA’s London office, so his legacy is not forgotten.”

Rachel Bairsto, Head of Museum Services said:

“We are delighted the BDA Northern Ireland Branch chose to support the restoration work for his important painting. 

“The BDA Museum relies on donations to safeguard our dental heritage and we would like to thank all those who have contributed over the years and we hope our collection will continue to flourish in the years’ to come.”

BDA Museum

The BDA Museum has one of the largest collections of dental heritage in the UK. Spanning the 17th century to the present day, highlights of the collection include dental chairs, drills, oral hygiene products, and the infamous ‘Waterloo’ teeth. Pop in and see for yourself.