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The Dead Association

GUL, Sp Coll, Northern Looking Glass

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The Dead Association

Coloured cartoon from the Northern Looking Glass 18 August 1825, the second in the series "Essay on Modern Medical Education". Entitled "The Dead Association" it depicts two disreputable-looking characters standing over bodies strewn on the floor and over chairs. One of the rogues has his hand in a box marked with a skull and crossbones.

The cartoon may be referring to funeral clubs. Men joined these friendly societies to contribute to a common fund that would meet the expense of their burials, in an age where there was a morbid fear of dying penniless and being consigned to a pauper's grave. Like many mutual societies of the day they were often an excuse for socialising and for heavy drinking. The cartoonist may be making a wry comment in depicting the members lying drunk while the funeral funds are pilfered.

Reference: Sp Coll Bh14-x.8

Glasgow University Library, Special Collections

burial societies, drinking, friendly societies, Glasgow Looking Glass, lithographs, mutual societies, Northern Looking Glass, skulls and crossbones, smoking, theft, thieves

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