The first use of ether in dental surgery, 1846. Oil painting by Ernest Board.
- Board, Ernest, 1877-1934.
Selected images from this work
About this work
The painting shows the first use of ether as an anaesthetic in dental surgery by the dental surgeon W.T.G. Morton, in Boston, Massachusetts, on 30 September 1846. The patient was Eben H. Frost, who made and signed the following statement: "I applied to Dr Morton at 9 o'clock this evening, suffering under the most violent toothache; that Dr Morton took out his pocket-handkerchief, saturated it with a preparation of his, from which I breathed about half a minute, and then was lost in sleep. In an instant more I awoke, and saw my tooth lying upon the floor. I did not experience the slightest pain whatever. I remained twenty minutes in his office afterward, and felt no unpleasant effects from the operation." (Duncum, loc. cit.)
A tumbler of liquid ether is shown in the foreground. Above, a gas light; right, a man shown in profil perdu. Two other men are shown as spectators in the left background, possibly representing the spectators at Massachusetts General Hospital that Morton took part in, with J.C. Warren and others, on 16 October 1846