Social satire, Medicine in art
During the 18th century the city of Bath became a fashionable tourist attraction by reputation of its spas. Fed by geothermal mineral springs, the hot sulfuric water at Bath was alleged to heal a variety of illnesses and infirmities. “Taking the waters” was especially recommended by doctors for the treatment of gout, a disease associated with an immoderate diet of rich food and wine. In Bath Races, Rowlandson caricatures a group of people crippled by gout and other ailments, hysterically heading for the baths near the River Avon to seek a magic cure rather than admitting to the excesses of their own lifestyles. The buildings at the top of the hill are part of the Royal Crescent residences designed by John Wood in the 18th century, where today the luxury Royal Crescent Hotel is still in business.
Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827)
Thomas Tegg, London
Debra Cashion, in collaboration with Elisabeth Barrett, '15
Hand-colored etching; original dimensions, 240 X 350 mm
Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827), “Bath Races,” The Anatomist: Early Modern Medical Satire, accessed September 21, 2017, http://anatomist.omeka.net/items/show/5.