Today’s post is a taster – a group of engravings by 18th Century artist John Collier, about whom I will do a blog shortly.
Suffice to say he lived between 1708 and 1786, dying just before the huge popularity of caricatures towards the end of the century. He used the nom de plume Tim Bobbin and amongst other things he did a delightful series on going to the dentist. For some obscure reason my wife’s niece, who runs a splendid dental practice in Exeter, chooses not to line her waiting room with prints of these!
The first, entitled Acute Pain shows a gleeful person inflicting pain on the unfortunate guy with a rotten tooth, extracting it with a piece of string.
Here are two oil on board paintings, described as being “after John Collier” in each case showing a Blacksmith using a pair of pliers to pull a tooth from an un-lovely patient (victim?).
I like this image of a dentist waving a hot coal in the face of the patient to cause him to jerk backwards so as to tug out the tooth. Why waste time on analgesics when you can terrify your patient?
Sadism is even more apparent in this one, showing the dentist with his foot on the patient’s chest so as to get the necessary leverage. Who wouldn’t want to visit a dentist who takes such obvious delight in his trade?!
Here is another variation on the plier theme, with the patient’s spouse watching with concerned concentration as the dentist goes about his business. Suddenly, the pain where my filling has come loose no longer seems worth bothering about….
The images are all shown courtesy of the Wellcome Library in London.