The Company of Undertakers

William Hogarth (British, 1697-1764)

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Originally advertised as “A Consultation of Quacks,” Hogarth fashions a mock coat of arms for medical practitioners featured here in their typical persona—professionally grave in manner, elaborately wigged, and porting gold-headed canes containing disinfectant. The Latin phrase on the banner reads “everywhere the image of death.” The upper register features three notorious quacks: John Taylor, who styled himself “Opthalmiator Pontifical, Imperial, and Royal,” Sarah Mapp, a bone setter who once called herself “crazy Sally,” and Dr. Joshua “Spot” Ward, whose famous pill was more apt to kill than cure.

William George Sullivan; given to the John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, in 1930.

Object Information

William Hogarth (British, 1697-1764)
creation date
etching and engraving
8-1/2 x 7 in. (image)
11-3/4 x 9-1/2 in. (sheet)
accession number
credit line
Gift of William George Sullivan
Public Domain
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

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