From Hogarth to Rowlandson

BookFrom Hogarth to Rowlandson

From Hogarth to Rowlandson

Medicine in Art in Eighteenth-century Britain

1996

October 1st, 1996


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From Hogarth to Rowlandson shows how medicine and medical practitioners were portrayed by some of the artists of the eighteenth century. Medical imagery is a forceful component of eighteenth-century art and, taken as a corpus, the works of artists such as Hogarth and Rowlandson provide a lay view of some of the contemporary medical developments and of the attitudes held towards members of the medical profession. Eighteenth-century medical imagery does not only appear overtly as illustrations of medical men with their patients being purged, bled, ‘given a vomit' and so forth, but also appears indirectly as part of a `language' based upon symbolism, allegory and the use of emblems in a traditional manner still commonly employed in the eighteenth century. Haslam places ‘the art of medicine' of the eighteenth century in its social, historical and political context and shows how this, together with a knowledge of the lives of the artists themselves, is necessary for a better understanding of that art in an age in which hope was often raised by medical innovation, but all too often dashed. Among the aspects considered are: medical images in Hogarth's early satires, the innovation of vaccination, death, madness, fashion in medicine, midwifery and birth, blood-letting, the role and practice of the itinerant quack, surgery, and medicine and morality. This book provides an insight into the use of highly charged and often complicated representations of medicine and doctors in graphic and literary art. It will be of interest to social, medical and art historians as well as to general readers.

Author Information

Fiona Haslam worked for many years in medical practice and in 1986, while still working she began her research into medicine and art, which resulted in the award of a doctorate from the University of St Andrews. She has written a number of articles on medicine and art and is the author of From Hogarth to Rowlandson: Medicine in Art in Eighteenth Century Britain (Liverpool University Press, 1996)