Osborne, Jonathan (1794–1864), physician, was born in Cullenswood House, near Ranelagh, Dublin, son of William Osborne, jeweller, and his wife Kezia (née Binns), daughter of John Binns (qv). He was educated by the Moravians before graduating BA (1815), MB (1818), and MD (1837) from TCD, becoming licentiate (1819) and fellow (1823) of the (R)K&QCPI, and studying at the University of Bologna.
He served as physician to the General Dispensary and Humane Society, Dublin, and lectured on materia medica in the Medico-Chirurgical School, Park St. (1825), and in medicine at the Ledwich School of Medicine (1838). He was appointed physician in ordinary (c.1830) and clinical physician (1840–64) to Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital and to Mercer's Hospital (1835–64). From 1840 to 1864 he occupied the chair of materia medica and pharmacy in the School of Physic, TCD, with distinction, and was an able lecturer.
From the beginning of his career he studied urine. He published A sketch of the physiology of urine, with an historical introduction (London, 1820) and On dropsies, connected with suppressed perspiration, and coaguable urine (London, 1835; 2nd ed., 1837; trans. into German, Leipzig, 1840). A pioneering nephrologist, he made several original observations on pro teinuria and renal disease; of interest also was his construction of an ingenious ‘animal heat thermometer’ (Dublin Quarterly Journal of Medical Science, xxxiii (1862), 273–81). He had an extensive knowledge of the classics and of Greek and Latin, which he spoke fluently, and published articles identifying the poison given to Socrates as hemlock, and reflecting on the plague described by Thucydides. T. P. C. Kirkpatrick (qv) compiled a bibliography of his original and wide-ranging articles (Dubl. Jn. Med. Sc., cxxxix, no. 519 (1 Mar. 1915), 164–72). Elected president (1834–6) and hon. fellow (1840) of the (R)K&QCPI, he was a member of the RIA (1839) and of the Royal Society of Quebec.
Possessed of an ironic sense of humour, he once protected himself from a dripping roof by lecturing beneath an umbrella, observing: ‘This, gentlemen, is the accommodation which the board think good enough for the professors of the School of Physic’ (Little, 163). Handicapped by rheumatism, he walked with two sticks, quipping that it was more natural for man to do so, and insisting that he be buried standing so as not to be at a disadvantage at the resurrection. He died 22 January 1864 at his home, Clermont House, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, and was buried upright in the vaults of St Michan's church, Dublin. His portrait hangs in the RCPI, which also has a silver snuff box presented to Osborne by the college at the end of his presidency, and a silver flagon given to him by former pupils. He married first Charlotte Egan; they had at least three sons. His second wife was Catherine Sophia Gerrard; they had one son, who predeceased him, and one daughter.