Monday 22 March 2010

Betony's Bunnies

The Curious Tale of Mary Toft...

Cunicularii or The Wise Men of Godliman in Consultation
Mary Toft, apparently giving birth to rabbits - William Hogarth 1726
Alan EH Emery and Marcia LH Emery, Mother and Child Care in Art. Royal Society of Medicine, 2006.

In 1726 Mary Toft, an English woman, became the subject of considerable controversy when she tricked physicians across the land into believing she had given birth to rabbits. She had actually been pregnant but later miscarried and apparently fascinated by a rabbit she had seen whilst working, claimed to have given birth to parts of animals. The story spread far and wide and Toft was brought to London to be studied at length. She eventually confessed to the hoax and was imprisoned for fraud. However, the medical profession was greatly criticised for being so gullible and several prominent surgeons' careers were ruined.

A sick affair by all accounts...and yet, when adapted by London-based illustrator Betony May, this strange story suddenly becomes quite appealing:

Betony's entire book is online, along with rest of her illustration portfolio.

This young Welsh illustrator, designer and "all round magic maker" also makes prints and handpainted jewellry, which she has just started selling in her new etsy store, Month of May.

Do take a peek!


  1. je connaissais pas cette histoire byzarre, les illustrations sont très belles.
    Bonne journée!

  2. Curious indeed... Lovely illustrations though!
    Again, great find!

  3. What a fascinating story. We are indeed a very gullible breed. Thanks for sharing!


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