A milk maid shows her cowpoxed hand to a physician, while a farmer or surgeon offers to a dandy inoculation with cowpox that he has taken from a cow. Coloured etching, ca. 1800.
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About this work
The scene represents the discovery of vaccination through the details known in France at the time (ca. 1800). The physician in the blue coat and the dandy on the left, both representing English fashions, are recurrent motifs in Depeuille's vaccination prints. The physician may be intended to represent Edward Jenner, who perhaps had not been accurately painted for reference at this point; Sarah Nelmes is known to be the milkmaid who provided the original cowpox. The fat man with the lancet, wearing more old-fashioned dress, may be a farmer or a surgeon. In the left background, a ship sinks in the sea