Art UK has updated its cookies policy. By using this website you are agreeing to the use of cookies. To find out more read our updated Use of Cookies policy and our updated Privacy policy.

A Man Vaccinating a Young Child Held by Its Mother, with Other Members of the Household Looking On

Photo credit: Wellcome Collection

How you can use this image

Public Domain

This image has been assigned a Public Domain Mark and is free to use with unrestricted use.

Please acknowledge the Collection who own the work with a photo credit — this helps spread the word about their resources.

To learn more about images and rights, please see our image use page.



Add or edit a note on this artwork that only you can see. You can find notes again by going to the ‘Notes’ section of your account.

Smallpox was once a common epidemic disease that killed, blinded or disfigured its victims. In the eighteenth century its impact was reduced in Europe by a Chinese practice called variolation, the injection of smallpox fluid from an infected human being into a healthy human. In 1798 Edward Jenner proposed a modification of variolation called vaccination, which involved the injection of fluid from an infected cow into human beings. This painting, produced in France in about 1807, shows a family being vaccinated. The children are very scared of the new procedure, while the adults seem to be happy about it. Vaccination was at first not entirely accepted. It had been introduced from England to France in 1801, in a period in which the two countries were generally at war, so fear of poisoning by foreign agents could have been in some people's minds at the time.

Wellcome Collection



1807 (?)


oil on canvas


H 44.5 x W 58 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method


Work type


Wellcome Collection

183 Euston Road, London, Greater London NW1 2BE England

This venue is open to the public. Not all artworks are on display. If you want to see a particular artwork, please contact the venue.
View venue