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Thompson worked through two very different careers before coming to Egyptology at the age of 40. He started out studying law at Trinity College, Cambridge but shortly after he was called to the Bar, he switch career track to study medicine. However, following problems with his eyes he had to quit this second career and once again made a dramatic turn in intellectual pursuit to Egyptology. It was in this final vocation that Thompson found a calling, and in particular as specialist in Coptic and Demotic. He wrote many acclaimed scholarly works on the subjects and was a generous supporter of archaeology.
Dawson, W. and Uphill, E. (1995) Who Was Who in Egyptology. Third Edition, revised by Bierbrier, Egyptian Exploration Society, London, p.286.