Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The March Of The White Plague (1907)

This rather eerie cartoon, published in the Lepracaun in 1907, illustrates the toll tuberculosis, known popularly as consumption, was then having on Ireland. It also shows, in the guise of wolves, what was thought to be its causes. It would be many years before this scourge was fully dealt with. It was only with Noël Browne-led changes in public health provision and the the introduction of streptomycin and other antibiotics in the  late '40s and '50s that tuberculosis stopped being an omnipresent killer in the Irish context. In "The March Of The White Plague", the artist Thomas Fitzpatrick, who usually drew cartoons in a more whimsical style, created a pastiche of JC Dollman's work, a popular contemporary English artist.

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