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Title:painting: Man Pulling Tooth
Date Made:19th century
Materials:oil on composition board, wood, paint, glass
Place Made:United Kingdom; England
Measurements:overall: 8 1/2 x 11 1/2 in.; 21.59 x 29.21 cm
Accession Number:  HD 69.1326
Credit Line:Gift of Mr. & Mrs. John Kenneth Byard
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Oil painting of one man pulling another man's tooth, on a composition board in a wooden frame painted black. The scene is based on an engraving by John Collier (1708-1786), the English caricaturist and satirical poet who used the pseudonym of Tim Bobbin, or Timothy Bobbin. Born near Manchester, Collier lived in Milnrow where he was the schoolmaster from 1726 until his death. He began painting seriously to support is large family, and produced oil paintings that he sold at various inns; his caricatures were also in great demand. His paintings were eventually sold as far afield as Liverpool (from where some were apparently shipped to America and the West Indies) and Newcastle. In 1773, Collier published "Human Passions Delineated," his series of engraved satirical caricatures, which were very funny and well drawn, although grotesque and even cruel. The series includes drunks, tooth drawers, lecherous priests, beggars, invalid soldiers, politicians and dandies. There were two editions in his lifetime, and Collier also produced copies of the various caricatures, often in oils – in fact he advertised his willingness to do this in the book. Colonial Williamsburg has a English oil painting of the same scene attributed to Collier. There were 323 subscribers to the first edition, which sold for 15 shillings (75p) per volume. This volume of caricatures earned him the title “The Lancashire Hogarth” – although his works did not contain anything like the detail to be found in the earlier work of Hogarth. The etchings were widely reproduced, and some were printed on ceramics of the time, and a colorised reproduction of 25 of the plates was published in 1810. During the 19th century there were several new editions of ‘Human Passions Delineated’ in 1809, 1810, 1821, 1846, 1858 and 1874. HD's painting is based on Plate 6, the second of four related tooth-pulling plates; the engraved version is titled, "Laughter and Experiment," with the verse explanation: "A packthread strong he tied in haste / On tooth that sore did wrong: / He pull'd the patient follow'd fast, / Like Towzer in a string. / He missed at first, but try'd again, / Then clapp'd his foot o'th chin; / He pull'd - the patient roared with pain, / And hideously did grin. / But Lo! - Capricious fortune frow'd, / And broke the chewkin string, / And threw him backwards on the ground, / His head made floor to ring." The original engraving depicts a smiling man who pulling the string attached to the tooth of the man on the left while using his foot as a brace against the second man's chin; the second man, who is grimacing in pain, holds his left hand up around the first man's ankle. HD's version's shows the scene reversed and the two men dressed differently than the engraving (but similar to the Colonial Williamsburg painting), with a man on the right wearing a white wig, green coat, yellow pants, blue stockings, and black shoes, who is holding on to a string attached to the tooth of the man on the left who is wearing a white cap, yellow cravat, and red coat.

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