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Porcelain figure group showing a seller of quack medical treatments, Germany, 1801-1900

Accompanied by a monkey and a clown, this man is selling a number of dubious potions and lotions to treat the illnesses of the day. Until relatively recently, the manufacturing of medical treatments was not well regulated and anyone could turn their hand to it. Often these medical preparations were of little or no real use and could even be quite harmful. The monkey and the clown who accompany the man may indicate that the man was part of a travelling fair. The porcelain statue was made by Meissen in Germany.

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Glossary: statue

A sculpture in the round representing human or animal figures or small figure groups; a statuette is a smaller sculpture.

Glossary: quack

Pertaining to or characterised by, boasting and pretension; used by quacks; pretending to cure diseases; as, a quack medicine; a quack doctor.