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Sculpting a Seventeenth Century Physician

Learn about this wooden sculpture of a physician and his patient, inspired by Shakespeare's son-in-law, Dr. John Hall.

The lady, in a long dress and a separate hood, sits in a chair looking at the physician, in a long robe, a wide ruff and a round cap. He is holding up and inspecting a flask; beside him is a cabinet with a rim around two sides of the top.
'The Consultation' by William Piper Sproat

This week's sculpture is inspired by William Shakespeare's son-in-law, Dr. John Hall, who was the physician of Stratford-upon-Avon in the early seventeenth century. It shows a physician of that period consulting a worried looking patient.

This sculpture, although made in the 1980's, has an extra link to the Hall family as it was carved from the wood of a lime tree in the garden at Hall's Croft, which was Susanna and John Hall's home in Stratford-upon-Avon.

We have some idea what this scene might have looked like form contemporary images of physicians, such as this oil painting of a doctor 'casting the water' (inspecting the urine) of a patient.

'A Doctor Casting the Water' by Osias Dyck
'A Doctor Casting the Water' by Osias Dyck

This was painted in the mid seventeenth century by Osias Dyck and is currently displayed in Hall's Croft. Discover more information about Hall's Croft.