Dental art

For centuries, the activities of dentists and the symptoms of tooth disease have been used as themes in works of art, drawings, cartoons, paintings, sculpture and woodcarvings. These images are a valuable source of information about providers of dental care and different treatments for toothache.

Shell sculpture

A unique Victorian era sculpture of a scene at the dentist's made from crab shells.

 

Cartoon art

Dentistry has long been a subject for humour in cartoon-art. The golden age of political and social caricature and satire was between 1780 and 1830 when three artists were active Thomas Rowlandson, James Gillray and George Cruikshank. Each tackled the topical subject of dentists during their careers.

A French dentist showing his artifical teeth and false palates, 1811 A French dentist showing his artificial teeth and false palates, 1811  
Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827)
Transplanting of teeth, 1787

Transplanting of teeth, 1787
Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827) 

Tugging at a (high) eye tooth, 1821

Tugging at a (high) eye tooth, 1821 
George Cruikshank (1792–1878) 

English engravings

These English engravings, dating from the beginning of the 19th century, show three options available when a tooth extraction was required.

Hob and stage doctor, 1812-1817

Hob and stage doctor, 1812–1817
William Davison (publisher) 
 

The country tooth drawer, 1812-1817 The country tooth drawer, 1812–1817
William Davison (publisher) 
The town tooth drawer, 1812-1817

The town tooth drawer, 1812–1817
William Davison (publisher)

Paintings

Der zahmbreder

Der zahmbreder
In the style of Adrian van Ostade (1610-1685)

 

A barber-surgeon at work in the 17th century in the Netherlands.

lavery-painting-thumb

The Dentist 
Sir John Lavery (1856-1941)