Art Hx: Visual and Medical Legacies of British Colonialism

An interior. Two figures sit on a pink sofa; one, a young child, is depicted using gray hues as a dentist in ornate and brightly colored attire extracts teeth from his open mouth. The other seated figure is a woman in elaborate dress who points angrily to her own mouth. Nearby (right), a wealthy man holds a mirror to examine his own new teeth, and another seated woman in a gown and shawl receives dental care from a second dentist. On the left of the etching, two children in tattered clothing leave the room, clutching their jaws in apparent pain.

Title: A fashionable dentist’s practice: healthy teeth are being extracted from poor children to create dentures for the wealthy

Artist/Maker: Thomas Rowlandson

Date: 1787

Source: Wellcome Collection

Copyright/Permissions: A fashionable dentist’s practice: healthy teeth are being extracted from poor children to create dentures for the wealthy. Coloured etching by T. Rowlandson, 1787. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Public Domain Mark

Location(s): 50 Oxford Street, London, England

Art Hx