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A very appealing Hogarth - St Bart’s Hospital is 900 years old today

Blog | By The Old Un | Mar 25, 2023

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

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

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.