Doctor Beak by Lukey Folkard
Doctor Beak by Lukey Folkard
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Doctor Beak by Lukey Folkard

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Hand-signed A4 print on 220gsm white parchment.

The bird-like masks worn by Renaissance plague doctors during disease epidemics were thought to protect them from foul and putrid smells. People believed that diseases manifested from poisonous vapours and noxious smells, and that breathing them in would consequently cause one to fall ill with the disease. This was called miasma theory.

To combat miasma, plague doctors would pack the long beaks of their masks with strong and sweet smells, such as herbs, spices and dried flowers. Dressed in this outfit and armed with a long examining stick, the doctors would then attempt to cure the sick with various natural remedies, including potions, salves and tonics.