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‘The Village Doctor’, 1774

© 2021 Royal Pharmaceutical Society


Mounted etching and aquatint, entitled ‘THE VILLAGE DOCTOR’, designed by Henry Wigstead, etched by Thomas Rowlandson, and published by H. Humphrey in 1794.

A male country practitioner carries out the roles of probe surgeon, man midwife, and apothecary. His house has a sign of a pestle and mortar above the door and a board proclaiming “PROBE SURGEO[N AND] MAN MIDWIFE”. The village doctor, in nightshirt and cap, his breeches in his left hand, leans out of an upper window angrily shaking his fist at the anxious man standing below who has woken him.

The subject was suggested by Henry Wigstead and his initials ‘H.W.’ are depicted on a fence to the right of the door. The publishers name and date has been partially trimmed away. It should read: “Pub’d June 8th 1774 by H. Humphry Bond Street.”