The Examination, of a young surgeon..

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The Examination, of a young surgeon..
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George Cruikshank

The examination, of a young surgeon..

London, M. Jones October 1st. 1811, The Scourge


Original hand colouring

203 x 390 mm

Traces of old folds as issued.

£400 Members of the Court of Examiners of the Royal College of Surgeons sit on the outer side of a horse-shoe table, four on each side of the Master, who sits in a raised chair, wearing a gown, bands, and hat. On the table before him are a skull and bone. The examinee, trembling and insignificant, stands on the extreme left, facing a man who has risen from his chair to say angrily, "Describe, the Organs of Hearing"; the latter's neighbour listens intently through an ear-trumpet. The next Examiner sleeps with folded arms; next, and on the Master's right, is a man turning his back on the Master and holding his nose while he studies a book: 'Question upon Wind I Suppose a man was to . . . What w . . . you . . .' The aged and toothless Master (Sir Charles Blicke, 1745-1815) listens with senile intensity through an ear-trumpet. On his left two Scots, ungainly fellows wearing tartan, are absorbed in conversation; one says: "you paid too dear for it brother Sergeant," the other takes snuff from a mull. Next is a fat man with swathed gouty legs; crutches lie on the ground beside him; he has a paper 'THH [sic] COW POX CRONICLE', suggesting that he is Jenner (not a surgeon). He has a pen in his mouth, spectacles on forehead, and looks sideways at his neighbour, a lean old man who is intently counting piles of coin. In the foreground is a trough containing books; a man stands near it holding a large volume and looking towards examiner and examinee. A man leaves the room (right) looking over his shoulder with shocked distress, and exclaiming "Oh!" In his pocket is a paper: 'A Peter on the Gravel'. The Master's chair is decorated with skulls; from its back projects a striped pole supporting a skull which serves as a wig-block, emblem of the old connexion between surgeons and barbers, see No. 9092, &c. Under the chair are money-bags, one inscribed '£50', the other 'For Shirt'. Behind the chair are two niches or alcoves in each of which a skeleton is suspended by the neck from a rope; one (left) is 'Govenor [sic] Wall' [see No. 9845], the other 'Lady Brownrigg'. These are symmetrically flanked by four pictures: [1] a prizefight between a black pugilist and a skeleton at which the Master of the College presides, standing before his chair. [2] Sartjee, 'the Hottentot Venus', see No. 11577, &c., stands in profile to the right while 'Nobody', a man whose legs are jointed to his shoulders as in No. 12438, &c., points with amusement at her huge posterior. [3] A young woman without arms or legs, placed on a bergere, is inspected by an ugly man, who points at her. [4] A brazen cow (or golden calf) is supported on a garlanded pillar on whose base is a crown; round this men, apparently surgeons, dance gleefully, holding hands in a ring. On the extreme left of the wall is an ornate clock, showing that the time is eleven. It is topped by a grinning figure of Time holding an hourg

lass. On the ground is a paper: 'At the sign of the Cow's Head Lincolns Inn Feilds'.