Pictures of gout. Views from the past  

This page – pictures of gout – was last reviewed or updated on 15 January 2018.

Below is one of gout's most famous images, a picture of gout drawn by the British cartoonist James Gillray in 1799. Gillray has depicted gout as a Little Devil. It prowls a swollen foot, and has struck above the joint of the big toe, the most common body spot for gout to attack.

In the 18th century gout and scurvy assumed an importance and fear in the collective mind that cancer, heart disease, and diabetes do today.

The Gout, Published by Hannah Humphrey in 1799
The Gout,...
James Gillray
24 in. x 18 in.
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This picture of gout, (below), probably an 18th century print, shows a sufferer with advanced gout. Gout in his right foot has caused it to be amputated, but he still has gout, most likely in the right knee, because he needs to keep his right leg elevated. The expression on his face suggests he has accepted the condition and his circumstances.

He is stuck at home and can't go out fishing so he has installed a fishing tub in his home. In fact his clothes suggest he is fishing at night because he is unable to sleep. 

Contrary to the 18th century, and later, myth that gout is only a rich man's disease, his surroundings are not lavish. Or has he spent all his money and assets on failed treatments ?

Unfortunately, in that century they did not know that some fish are high purine, nor that excess uric acid from purines is one of the causes of gout. Because they did not know about purines they ate foods and drank beverages that worsened their gout. The link between excess uric acid and gout was not discovered until the mid 19th century by the British physician Sir Alfred Garrod. 

So if the fishing tub holds mackerel, sardines, anchovies and some other high purine fish, his hobby is actually making his gout worse. He is however, right to keep warm by his fire.

Gout Man Fishes at Home
Gout Man Fishes...
H. Beckwith
24 in. x 18 in.
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Another gout cartoon by James Gillray. Punch cures the gout.  Gillray is being satirical. Punch is often red wine and fruit juices (s), and it's not going to cure gout, more likely make it worse.

The punch bowl is on the table. It's interesting that over 200 years later, it is still served in the same way at gatherings.

'Punch Cures the Gout, the Colic, and the Tisic'
'Punch Cures the...
James Gillray
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Blair's Gout and Rheumatic pills. Made in England, they were advertised in the Sydney (Australia) Mail newspaper in 1867 as "one of the benefits modern chemistry has conferred upon mankind." No less! You took Blair's pills and enjoyed "no restraint of diet, or confinement."

Blair's Gout and Rheumatic Pills
Blair's Gout and...

24 in. x 18 in.
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Bishop's Varalettes. I would not be surprised if these gave some relief for a gout attack.

They contain lithium (lithia) which was a popular remedy for gout from about 1870 until probably the 1940's. You carried them around and took them three times daily. You dropped them into water, whisky and other drinks.

The Waistcoat Pocket Remedy for Gout
The Waistcoat...

16 in. x 16 in.
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Related pages 

Visit our second page of pictures of gout.

The great and their gout. Read sketches of how the famous in history dealt with their gout, and why they may have got it

A history of gout until the end of the 19th century. Read about the scientific breakthroughs that led to much of our current understanding.

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