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A Village Doctress Distilling Eyewater

Photo credit: Wellcome Collection

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The watercolour shows a rural medical practitioner, a woman, not young, using her own urine to create a medicine which she offers for sale for rubbing on the eyes to dispel bad humours of the eye. She urinates in the right foreground into a funnel over a chemical vessel, while another, younger woman urinates in the left background into a funnel placed in a barrel, and a cat urinates in the left foreground on to the ground. ‘Humours in the eyes’ which are mentioned on the signboard seem to have been a kind of disease, possibly cataract.

Wellcome Collection



A Village Doctress Distilling Eyewater




watercolour on paper (?)


H 22.2 x W 18.3 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased by the Wellcome Library from Bennett Fine Art, 2005

Work type



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Wellcome Collection

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

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