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Alfred Reginald Thomson (1894-1979):
The Doctor's Waiting Room, 1959
Framed (ref: 7411)
Oil on canvas
36 5/8 x 39 in. (93 x 99 cm)
The Doctor’s Waiting Room, was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1959. A highly evocative image (The National Health Service was just over a decade old). reproductions of Millais Bubbles (1886) and Landseer's The Monarch of the Glen, can be seen in the background. A variety of fashion, suitable to the various generations depicted include include the ladies’ late 50's short waved hairstyles and bulky full winter coats, featuring large collars. All the older ladies wear hats, but the young women on the right are bare-headed:
this reflects the rapid decline of traditional sartorial standards by the late-1950s and the emergence of a more youthful ‘teenage’ generation in Britain.
The only patients present are women, children and middle-aged and elderly men, implying that few men of working age would normally be attending the doctor’s surgery at 11am (as per the clock). The school-age boys are dressed according to the strict age/height criteria that still governed boys’ dress, in flannel shorts and ‘longs’ (long trousers). The little girl wears a casual sweater and trousers – modern, comfortable garments. The doctor’s white coat expresses the mid-20th century concern for hygiene, health and cleanliness. The older man wears a hat – again signifying his advanced years - and a winter muffler. Both men sport moustaches, conservative facial hair that would not have been favoured by younger men at that time.