Philadelphia Museum of Art - Collections Object : A Consultation of Physicians, or The Company of Undertakers

A Consultation of Physicians, or The Company of Undertakers

William Hogarth, English, 1697 - 1764

1736, reprinted 1822

Etching and engraving

Plate: 10 3/8 x 7 1/8 inches (26.4 x 18.1 cm) Sheet: 12 x 8 15/16 inches (30.5 x 22.7 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Boies Penrose, 1940

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Within a lugubrious coat-of-arms, Hogarth depicts three well-known quacks with a group of twelve portly physicians. The three quacks at the top of the print are Joshua Ward, perhaps the most famous charlatan of his time; Sarah Mapp, a well-known bonesetter; and John Taylor, an oculist. The bewigged physicians dispel the stench of death by sniffing the pomander attached to the top of their canes. According to Hogarth, proper physicians and disreputable quacks are all members of the same Company of Undertakers. The Latin caption, Et plurima mortis imago, translates as "And many are the faces of death."