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'Le Chirurgien de Campagne', engraving by Thomas Major, France, 1747

Le Chirurgien de Campagne translates from French as ‘country surgeon’. The surgeon is removing a plaster treatment from his patient’s foot. The young apprentice is heating a fresh plaster treatment over hot coals. A shaving bowl can be seen in the bottom left hand corner, suggesting that the surgeon may also have been a barber – although shaving bowls were commonly used for bloodletting. The stuffed iguana hanging from the roof of the room was a common feature of apothecary shops, suggesting the surgeon might also have been an apothecary. It was unusual at this time for one person to practise several professions. The engraving is taken from a painting by David Teniers II (1610-1690), a Dutch painter. The engraving is dedicated to Monseigneur le Marquis d’Argenson, the French Secretary of State from 1744-1747.

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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: shaving bowl

Bowl used by barber or shaver,used either to collect blood from shaving cuts, or to rest razor during pauses in shaving.

Glossary: bloodletting

Puncturing a vein in order to withdraw blood. A popular medical practice for over two thousand years. Bloodletting often involved withdrawing large quantities of blood in the belief that this would cure or prevent many illnesses and diseases. The practice has been abandoned for all but a few very specific conditions.

Glossary: engraving

A technique to obtain prints from an engraved surface. Engraving is the practice of cutting into a hard, usually flat surface.