A Surgeon Binding up a Woman's Arm after Bloodletting

Image credit: Wellcome Collection

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Bloodletting from a vein was recommended when the hot and the wet were considered excessive, either in the body as a whole or in a particular part of the body. The surgeon would typically pierce a vein with the tip of a lancet blade, and collect the blood in a bowl. Two such bowls are shown on the table in the painting. The surgeon is either undoing a tourniquet which was used to collect the blood in the forearm, or bandaging the incision.

Wellcome Collection



A Surgeon Binding up a Woman's Arm after Bloodletting




oil on copper


H 50.4 x W 39.9 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased by Henry S. Wellcome, c.1900–1936

Work type


Inscription description

J Toorenvliet inventor et fecit A. 1666


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Wellcome Collection

183 Euston Road, London, Greater London NW1 2BE England

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