Alexander Fleming's bust by Kovacs

This bronze bust of Alexander Fleming can be seen in the video projection room of the Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum in St Mary's Hospital, London.

"The bronze bust is the work of the Hungarian-born artist, Frank Kovacs (…) The bust was commissioned by Pfizer Ltd, which had been associated with Fleming since the early 1940s and was presented to the Borough of Chelsea by John Rodgers, a director of the company. The sculptor used a series of preliminary sketches made at St Mary’s shortly before Sir Alexander’s death. Kovac commented on his sitter’s eyes which he found impelling. The bust is slightly larger than life and full faced which disguises Sir Alexander’s distinctive nose. Lady Amalia Fleming, Sir Alexander’s second wife and work colleague at St Mary’s, unveiled the statue on March 12 1956. She was assisted by Colour Sergeant Charles Tennuci, a pensioner from the Royal Hospital, one of many to benefit from his discovery. The unveiling was followed by a reception in Chelsea Town Hall hosted by the Mayor, Cllr Sims, and attended by many eminent doctors, Freemen of the Borough and members of the Art Club.

For many years the bust was displayed in Chelsea Town Hall but following the amalgamation of Kensington and Chelsea and the subsequent move to the new Civic Centre in Hornton Street, the bust was transferred to Chelsea Library.

In January 1993 a request was received from Dr Robert Fleming, Sir Alexander’s son, to loan the bust to the new museum at St Mary’s Hospital. The museum is devoted to the life of Fleming and the discovery of penicillin, and includes a reconstruction of his laboratory on the spot where the discovery was made. The Council agreed to the loan in March of that year as it was deemed to be the most appropriate place to display the bust which is where it may now be viewed"1.

  • Photos by ti.supmacinu|ihgrob.l#ihgroB acuL (July 2011)


- "Memorial to the late Sir Alexander Fleming", Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1956 Apr;18(4):272-4.

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