In the 17th and 18th Centuries, the blacksmith’s forge was the recognized dental office and teeth which caused pain were regularly extracted by the village smithy. In this scene, a blacksmith, working in his forge, improvises dentistry using huge forceps to extract a patient’s tooth while a woman watches. The theme of such tooth extractions was a popular theme of artists of the period. Up until the 1860s, Dentistry was largely unregulated.
Striking large format mezzotint engraving by an unknown artist published by Bowles and Carter in London in the late 18th Century.
Dimensions: Approx 35 x 50 cm
Condition: There is a tear across the upper right hand corner. Some light spotting and toning, but overall a striking and rare image printed at a scale that was unusual for the period.
The text below the image reads: The Town Tooth Drawer – Printed for & Sold by Bowles & Carver – No 69 in St. Paul’s Church Yard, London
“Why! Doctor of Horses, how comes it to pass, That you condescend to draw teeth for an Ass! Says Poll from the Magpie, who came for her Pot, Just as Dentist fast hold of his Patient has got. Who made such a noise betwixt roaring and praying, That Polly declar’d it was nothing but braying; I vow says the Dentist, I ne’er met with his fellow For I give him no cause thus to roar and to bellow. I am not like a Country Blacksmith who draws His Patient from morning, till night, by the jaws; I extract in an instant, above, or beneath, – And will make his mouth easy, in spite of his teeth.”