A midwife on her way to a labour
Thomas Rowlandson, 1811
Rowlandson's midwife is depicted on a dark, stormy night on her
way to attend a birth. She represents a stereotypical view of
midwives in this period as blowsy, obese, ignorant and prone to
drink - one verse about midwives described them as "Taking
snuff, drinking gin and tea, and the midwife's half-crown fee."
Female midwifery was under threat at this time as increasing
numbers of men joined this traditionally female occupation.