Museum treasures

'The Quack Doctor', 1814

A hand-coloured etching from the SalvaDore’s museum depicts the inside of an apothecary and the equipment in use in the 1800s.

'The quack doctor' caricature print

Source: RPS Museum

“The Quack Doctor” is a hand-coloured etching and aquatint by Thomas Rowlandson, published by Rudolph Akermann in 1814

While a satire on the dubious nature of medicine in the early 1800s, Thomas Rowlandson’s caricature ‘The Quack Doctor’ also depicts the public interior of an apothecary shop and the equipment in use at the time. 

The apothecary is shown standing behind the dispensing counter, decanting a liquid into a medicine bottle. More bottles, a small composition mortar and pestle, and a wet drug jar line the counter. Behind the counter are shelves of carboys, wet and dry drug jars (all labelled with poisons: canthari, arsenic, opium, nitre, vitriol), and a drug run. 

Over the doorway is painted ‘Apothecaries Hall’. Patients crowd in and one is startled to see, behind a curtain, that the apothecary’s assistant is a skeleton mixing a preparation in a large bell metal mortar labelled ‘slow poison’.  Below the drawing is lettered, “I have a secret art to cure, each malady which men endure”.

Citation: The Salvadore DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204998

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Pharmacy Registration Assessment Questions 2

    Pharmacy Registration Assessment Questions 2 features more than 400 entirely new, closed book and calculation questions. It can be used in conjunction with the previous volume or on its own. All questions are in line with current GPhC guidance, enabling you to prepare for the pharmaceutical pre-registration exam with confidence.

  • Pharmacy Registration Assessment Questions

    Pharmacy Registration Assessment Questions features over 400 closed book and calculation questions. With the registration exam having gone through a complete transformation in 2016, this volume has been developed around the new General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) guidelines.

  • Rules and Guidance for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Distributors 2017 (The Orange Guide)

    Commonly known as the Orange Guide, this book is an essential reference for all involved in the manufacture or distribution of medicines in Europe.

  • Paediatric Drug Handling

    Written for new pharmaceutical scientists, this book provides a background in paediatric pharmacy and a comprehensive introduction to children's medication.

  • Clinical Pharmacy Pocket Companion

    An A-Z pocket book containing concise and practical pharmaceutical information for busy clinical pharmacists.


Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete

Supplementary images

  • 'The quack doctor' caricature print

Jobs you might like

  • Verwood, Dorset

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.

шкафы архивные


ящики для хранения