Explore our exhibition to discover the enduring appeal of satirical images, and how doctors have been ridiculed, reprimanded and maligned for centuries.
We see countless satirical images in our everyday lives, from commercial advertisements and newspaper cartoons, to magazine covers and humorous internet memes.
Graphic satire has saturated all levels of society since it emerged as a skilled artform in the 17th century. It developed into a thriving industry in the 18th century, becoming a powerful tool for expressing political and social opinions.
The enduring appeal of satirical images encompassed the wealthy and poor alike. Reproduced in their tens, hundreds or even thousands, prints could be bought by the wealthy from printmakers, viewed in shop windows and later newspapers, and put up in public places such as barber shops, billiard rooms and brothels.
In the past, as today, satirical images were closely tied to a particular time and place. They responded to contemporary events and were viewed by audiences who understood the circumstances of their creation, meaning they can now be difficult understand.
From stereotypes of doctors to caricatures of individuals, satirical depictions of treatments to scathing attacks on the RCP, join us in ‘A taste of one’s own medicine’ as we explore the complex and intriguing meanings behind the satirical prints in the RCP’s collection.
Open in person at the Royal College of Physicians, the exhibition will be accompanied by an exciting programme of in person, virtual and hybrid events supported by the Art Fund.