Porcelain figure group showing a seller of quack medical treatments, Germany, 1801-1900

1801-1900 in Meissen

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Porcelain statue, depicting a charlatan with a monkey and a clown, Meissen, Germany, 1724-1900. Blackbackground.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Porcelain figure group, depicting a charlatan with a monkey and Harlequin, Meissen, Germany, 1801-1900, after a model by Kaendler; Harlequin, holding packets of medication, stoops by a table laden with ingredients, a monkey sits amongst medicine bottles, Joseph Fröhlich as the Quack Doctor holds a quack remedy, arranged on a decorative grassy base.

Accompanied by a monkey and a clown, this man is selling a number of dubious potions and lotions to treat the illnesses of the day. Until relatively recently, the manufacturing of medical treatments was not well regulated and anyone could turn their hand to it. Often these medical preparations were of little or no real use and could even be quite harmful.

The monkey and the clown who accompany the man may indicate that the man was part of a travelling fair. The porcelain statue was made by Meissen in Germany.


Wellcome (general)
Object Number:
incomplete, paint and porcelain
  • visual and verbal communication
  • sculpture
Leslie, E

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