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A Crowd Watching a Troupe of Quack-Doctors on a Stage Outside an Inn

Photo credit: Wellcome Library

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In the centre background is an inn with the sign 'Au monde renversé' ('the world upside down'); left, a town square, right a quack-doctor's company performing before an attentive crowd. They are performing a 'medicine show', combining entertainment with medicine-vending and toothdrawing. This kind of event does not happen any more, at least in Europe, but it has a long history stretching into the twentieth century.

  • Date

    c.1640 (?)

  • Medium

    oil on canvas

  • Measurements

    62.9 x 77.2 cm

  • Accession number


  • Acquisition method

    purchased by Henry S. Wellcome, c.1900–1936


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