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In the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, medicines were sold in Europe not only by apothecaries in their pharmacies but also by travelling theatre groups who made the selling of medicines into the climax of an elaborate comic performance. In this scene, the man on stage with the big black hat is playing the part of an academic doctor whose dog Latin is ridiculed by the zany or Harlequin character next to him.
oil on canvas
H 60 x W 74 cm
purchased by Henry S. Wellcome, c.1900–1936