Treasure's description

A New World remedy

A New World remedy

Shavings of guaiacum wood, boiled to produce an infusion, provided early modern Europe with a New World medication for an epidemic of syphilis imported from the newly-discovered lands. Our engraving (after the sixteenth-century work of Jan van der Straet) is a seventeenth-century re-engraving by Jan Galle of a popular print originally made by Philipp Galle. It captures the intense activity of the household as the new medicine is manufactured and the suspense attending administration of the drug to the sufferer under medical supervision. The admonitory purpose of the work is reinforced by the canvas depicting the delights of wine, women and song. The engraving is from the Bristol Medico-Chirurgical Society Library and was presented to the Society in 1938 by Mrs. Buckmaster.