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A very appealing Hogarth

Blog | By The Old Un | Jan 16, 2020

Take up they bed and walk: Bethesda with 'cretin' (circled)

St Bartholomew’s Hospital (aka Barts), Smithfield, celebrates its 900th birthday in 2023.

Barts has launched a 900th birthday £22m appeal to renovate those paintings, The Pool of Bethesda (1736) (pictured above) and The Good Samaritan (1737), and the hospital buildings.

The Pool of Bethesda portrays patients suffering from 18th-century conditions, including ‘cretinism’. Rightly, that’s no longer an acceptable medical term. But the insertion of Georgian medicine into the scene where Jesus instructs a lame man to ‘take up thy bed and walk’ makes for a moving contrast.