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Creamware mug decorated with a poem entitled 'The Triple Plea', England, 1760-1770

A lawyer, a doctor and a churchman, each holding the tools of his trade, illustrate the ‘The Triple Plea’. It is a satirical piece on these three professions, all of which demand significant payment for their services. The message is that the doctor will only provide advice if he is paid, otherwise he stays silent, or ‘mum’ (“Without a Fee the Doctor’s – Mum”) and swears that “Life and Health are in his Pill”. The choice to pay is ours, which is why the poem ends with: “Then be advis'd: In none confide, But take sound Reason as your Guide.”

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Glossary: mug

Drinking vessels, often cylindrical, resting on a flat base without a stem and having a single handle and sometimes a lid.

Glossary: satire

An artistic form where human actions and errors are mocked.