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Broadside entitled 'Copy of a Surgeon's Billl'

Commentary

This amusing broadside is in fact a parody of a surgeon's bill, as illustrated by the ridiculous services that the doctor has performed on his - hopefully - fictitious patient. Although the broadside is not dated, the bill itself was apparently written on the 30th of May, 1830. A note at the foot of the sheet states it was published by W. Sanderson, whose premises were located in Edinburgh.

Clearly, the playful content that makes up this broadside was written solely to entertain its audience. The sheet starts off with a light-hearted satire on a doctor's bill - although the prices might not be satirical, since it totals just under 50 (about 2600 in today's terms). Following this bright opening, the writer amuses us further with a list of items that will be available for purchase at an auction. Madly, however, if any readers should wish to buy such chimeric products as a glass wheel barrow or a mahogany poker, then they must make their enquiries to the auctioneer, William Neversell, two days after the sale has finished!

Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.

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Probable date published: 1830   shelfmark: L.C.1268
Broadside entitled 'Copy of a Surgeon's Billl'
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