Not just penal reform

Romney (George)

John Howard Visiting a Lazaretto,

£950

[c.1790].

A visual stimulus to keep safe throughout the lockdown, courtesy of the artist George Romney (1734-1802) and his hero John Howard (1726-1790) of Howard League fame. Today we are blessed with the NHS and intensive care units, but in the late 18th century the victim of such a pandemic would have ended up in the confines of a Lazaretto, a plague or isolation hospital. Although the conditions were so grim it led Howard, the great social and prison reformer, to campaign for more humane treatment, Romney was as much inspired by the underlying human suffering from the disease itself, which we would all do well to avoid in the first place, regardless of how remote a lazaretto now seems from a modern ITU.