'A French dentist showing his artificial teeth and false palates', 1798.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This etching by Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827) is a satire on the popularity of the French dentist, Nicholas Dubois de Chemant. Dubois de Chemant perfected the manufacture of so-called 'mineral', or porcelain, dentures which remained popular until well into the next century. He was granted a fourteen year patent for his invention in England, after fleeing there in 1792 to escape the French Revolution. In the early 19th century, the Wedgwood company supplied Dubois de Chemant with porcelain pastes for manufacturing his dental prosthetics.