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'Taking Physick', print, engraving, United Kingdom, 1804

‘Taking physick’ is another term for taking laxatives to rid the body of poisons. Judging by the look on the man’s face they obviously tasted disgusting. A number of bottles litter the floor and mantelpiece. Self-administering laxatives was cheaper than consulting a physician. This print was etched by James Gillray (1757-1815), a British caricaturist. Gillray lived above a bookshop belonging to Hannah Humphrey (1778-1822), who printed this caricature in 1804 and many others by Gillray.

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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: engraving

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

Glossary: caricature

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