Le Chirurgien de Campagne - engraving by Thomas Major, 1747, after D. Teniers, 38.5x50.5cm.
Le Chirurgien de Campagne translates from French as ‘country surgeon’. The surgeon is removing a plaster treatment from his patient’s foot. The young apprentice is heating a fresh plaster treatment over hot coals. A shaving bowl can be seen in the bottom left hand corner, suggesting that the surgeon may also have been a barber – although shaving bowls were commonly used for bloodletting. The stuffed iguana hanging from the roof of the room was a common feature of apothecary shops, suggesting the surgeon might also have been an apothecary. It was unusual at this time for one person to practise several professions.
The engraving is taken from a painting by David Teniers II (1610-1690), a Dutch painter. The engraving is dedicated to Monseigneur le Marquis d’Argenson, the French Secretary of State from 1744-1747.