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'How Merrily We Live', print, London, England, 1793

The caption of this satirical print reads “How merrily we live that doctors be, we humbug the public and pocket the fee”. (‘Humbug’ is an old term for a hoax or a fraud.) The print was a comment on how doctors charged their patients large fees for treatments that did not necessarily work while getting rich on the profits. It shows how the medical profession were viewed by some in the 1790s. The three doctors in an apothecary shop are finely dressed in expensive clothes and powdered wigs. One doctor has clearly been enjoying his wealth by eating well and becoming rather plump.

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Glossary: print

Pictorial works produced by transferring images by means of a matrix such as a plate, block, or screen, using any of various printing processes. When emphasizing the individual printed image, use "impressions." Avoid the controversial expression "original prints," except in reference to discussions of the expression's use. If prints are neither "reproductive prints" nor "popular prints," use just "prints."

Glossary: caricature

A representation that exaggerates certain features or characteristics to humorous effect.