8 thoughts on “A painting with a story.”

  1. Hi Colleagues,
    I was hoping for a single response at least but no one seems to be interested in this painting.However, I shall proceed with an explanation..My reason reason for this post is the alarming number of Measles cases reported throughout the world this year.About 950,000 cases to date worldwide and about 1000 cases in New Zealand.It appears that the cases have been due to imported infections on a background of poor vaccination uptake in the local populations.In USA, the communities most affected were Amish and Jewish, in whom vaccination uptake was poor.i.e NON VAXXERS. Regarding Measles vaccination , the fear induced was unsubstantiated and Dr Wakefield in UK who propagated his theory that vaccinated children developed autism was latter struck off the register by the GMC.Much damage is being done to many by the Non Waxxers.
    The painting depicts the same issue in 1798.In the painting Edward Jenner is seen vaccinating a woman with Cow pox blister fluid.At that time there was a great reluctance for the uptake of the vaccine on the basis that those vaccinated would behave and look like cows,some “mooing “and others” growing horns.”The painting depicts this anti Waxxer propaganda. Despite the bad publicity vaccination continued after Jenner, vaccinated the 8 year old son of his gardener with the cow pox blister fluid of Sarah Nelmes ( milk maid) and showed no harm to the boy.Two weeks later he vaccinated the boy with fluid from a patient with small pox and showed that the boy did not develop small pox.The word Vaccine is derived from the Latin word Vacca, meaning a cow.!
    In Old Ceylon, we were lucky to be British subjects in 1802,when small pox vaccination was introduced to Ceylon.A comprehensive report on the small pox epidemics in Ceylon and the detailed result of vaccination is recorded in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal,( precursor of the NEJM) 1833,19: 21-25.by Dr J.Kinnis MD.The total number vaccinated between 1802-1836 was 871,122. His analysis showed that 1:3 of Non waxxrers died while the mortality in the vaccinated was 1:62.
    As British subjects we were lucky to receive small pox vaccine after a lapse of only 5 years since the original discovery by Edward Jenner, a family doctor in Berkeley, Gloucestershire.England. Eddie.


  2. Thanks Eddie for the fascinating account of the facts depicted in the painting.

    My interpretation was that the doctor was ready to do a phlebotomy. Obviously I was wrong. Now I understand why pictures of cows jumping from wired places were depicted in the painting.



  3. Thanks Eddie for the illuminating explanatory note which cleared up the confusion caused in my mind by the old painting! Jenner’s pioneering efforts were a God send to people who faced deadly scourges like small pox ,which decimated populations , the world over. Chandra Wickramasinghe.


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