Dame Sheila Patricia Violet Beckett Sherlock was the world's leading female physicianscientist of the twentieth century. Her brilliant, wide-ranging, original contributions to the investigation, diagnosis, classification, epidemiology, pathogenesis and management of liver disease played a leading role in the establishment of hepatology as a medical specialty. Her rigorous, highly focused, studies combined experimental and laboratory investigations with meticulous clinical observation, encompassed most aspects of liver function, disease and treatment, and led directly to enormous benefit for millions of patients. Her remarkable individual personality also had a profound influence not only on her medical and scientific specialty but also on several generations of physicians throughout the world. She was the first female professor of medicine and head of a department of medicine in the UK, and the pioneer of women in modern medicine. The importance of her contributions to knowledge and her massive influence on training in and the practice of medicine related to liver disease were recognized by a glittering array of honours and awards from professional societies and academic institutions throughout the world, including 19 honorary degrees, and, very belatedly, election to Fellowship of The Royal Society in the last year of her life.