A monster being fed baskets of infants and excreting them with horns; symbolising vaccination and its effects. Etching by C. Williams, 1802(?).
- Williams, Charles, active 1797-1830.
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About this work
A print published as propaganda against the introduction of vaccination as a preventitive measure against smallpox. Smallpox was once a common epidemic disease that killed, blinded or disfigured its victims. In the 18th century its impact was reduced in Europe by a Chinese practice called variolation, the injection of smallpox fluid from an infected human being into a healthy human. Variolation became a popular practice in Great Britain. In 1798 Edward Jenner (1749-1823) proposed a modification of variolation called vaccination, which involved the injection of fluid from an infected cow into human beings. The introduction of the cow into human medicine seemed irrational and surprising, and was one of the points made against vaccination by its opponents. Some of the opponents of vaccination are named on the obelisk shown on the right of the print: the topmost name is that of Dr Benjamin Moseley, physician to the Royal Hospital at Chelsea. On the left the vaccinators, sporting bull's horns, feed babies to the Vaccination monster, which has the forefeet of a lion and the hindfeet of a cow