Martin van Butchell, eccentric dentist, late 18th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving of van Butchell (1735-1814?) who was an eccentric dentist, trusmaker and empiric (one who relies on practical experience). He was trained in anatomy and physiology by William and John Hunter. Posibly on the latter's advice he took up dentistry, but he also had considerable succes in the surgical treatment of fistulae, haemorrhoids, etc. He rode a white pony painted with coloured spots, kept his embalmed wife in a glas case in his sitting room, and summoned members of his family to his presence by individually modulated whistles.