Black Death Plague Doctor Poster
Doktor Schnabel von Rom ("Doctor Beak of Rome"), this poster was inspired by the engraving by Paul Fürst, 1656.
During the period of the Black Death and the Great Plague of London, plague doctors visited victims of the plague.
A plague doctor's duties were often limited to visiting victims to verify whether
they had been afflicted or not. Most urban plague doctors were essentially volunteers,
since the real doctors would have fled to the countryside, knowing they could do
nothing for those affected.
The good Doktor Schnabel von Rom's clothing consisted of what would be considered primitive hazardous materials suit which consisted of:
* A black wide-brimmed hat, which not only identified that person as a doctor, but also would have been used as shielding from infectious fluids and other miasma.
* A face mask that was in the shape of a bird's beak. The beak was often filled with aromatic herbs and spices to cover up the smells of putrefying flesh, sputum, and ruptured bouboules that wafted off dying plague victims.
* The mask also included glass eyepieces that not only protected the eyes, but also made looking through the mask easier.
* A long, black overcoat that was tucked behind the beak and extended clear down to the feet in order to minimize skin exposure. This garment was often coated head to toe in wax in order to repel toxic fluids such as sputum or other bodily fluids, fleas and possible contamination from coughing plague victims.
* A wooden cane, which was used to push away infected patients and keep them at a safe distance.
Part of the appearance of the plague doctor's clothing was meant to frighten onlookers, and I am certain the plague doctor most likely frightened the very patients he was trying to save.
This poster is 17 inches wide by 22 inches high, generous black ink lushly printed on parchment stock.
PLEASE NOTE: This poster image was hand-drawn by Madame Talbot using General's Cedar Pointe #333-2HB pencils on Crescent 201.6 Hot Press Medium Weight illustration board at original poster size. An antique Koh-i-Noor rapidograph pen and Dr. P. H. Martin's Bombay Black India ink were used for final inking.
After completion, the image was hand-delivered to Ryan Gwinner Press in Portland, Oregon and printed on an offset printing press.
Absolutely no computers were used in the creation of this poster - from start to finish.
The copyright notice is on the website image only and not on the printed poster.