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‘Consultation of Physicians’, 1809

© 2021 Royal Pharmaceutical Society


Mounted etching, entitled ‘Consultation of Physicians’, designed by William Hogarth, engraved and etched by Thomas Cook, and published by Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme in 1809.

This caricature is a later copy, reversed, of William Hogarth’s satirical comment on the medical profession ‘The Company of Undertakers’. Represented within an imaginary Coat of Arms; Hogarth satirises physicians and quacks, and their spurious learning, through the idiocies of Heraldry.

The motto on the coat of arms; “ET PLURIMA MORTIS IMAGO”, translates as “And I picture many types of death”. The three figures in the upper third of the shield design are portraits of three notorious quacks; “Chevalier” John Taylor (c.1708-1772), the oculist or “Ophthalmiator, Pontificial, Imperial, and Royal”, whose cane is marked with an eye and who leers with one eye shut at Mrs “Crazy Sal” Mapp the bone setter, dressed as a harlequin who points at her bone-shaped staff.

On the right is Dr Joshua “Spot” Ward (1685-1761), so named from a faci