Skip Navigation

The Leech and His Patient, Illustration for The Scarlet Letter

Felix Octavius Carr Darley

American Art

Executed in the spare linear style that characterizes the work of F. O. C. Darley, this ink drawing portrays a scene from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter (originally published in 1850), in which Roger Chillingworth, a physician and Hester Prynne’s long-lost husband, tries to convince the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, her lover, to confess the secret affair. Notwithstanding the economy of his line, Darley used body language and richly detailed period costume and setting to dramatize the story. For example, Chillingworth’s crooked pose reflects his bent for revenge, and Dimmesdale’s gesture of clutching his heart alludes to the scarlet A (for “adulteress”) that Hester wears on her chest.
MEDIUM Brown-black ink with graphite underdrawing on cream, thick, very smooth, highly calendered wove paper.
DATES ca. 1878
DIMENSIONS Image: 12 x 16 5/16 in. (30.5 x 41.4 cm) Sheet: 16 1/16 x 22 1/4 in. (40.8 x 56.5 cm)  (show scale)
SIGNATURE Signed lower left corner of image on pipe, in ink: "F O C Darley"
INSCRIPTIONS Inscribed in graphite, upper center of sheet: "The Leech and his Patient." and at bottom center: "'Why should not the guilty ones sooner / avail themselves of this unattainable solace?'" Inscribed in ink above upper right corner of image: "5."
COLLECTIONS American Art
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 15.484
CREDIT LINE Gift of William A. White
RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Works created by United States and non-United States nationals published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, subject to the terms of any applicable treaty or agreement.

You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this work. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact reproductions@brooklynmuseum.org (charges apply).

The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to the work. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.

The Brooklyn Museum makes no representations or warranties with respect to the application or terms of any international agreement governing copyright protection in the United States for works created by foreign nationals.

For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch.

For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright.

If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact copyright@brooklynmuseum.org.
CAPTION Felix Octavius Carr Darley (American, 1822-1888). The Leech and His Patient, Illustration for The Scarlet Letter, ca. 1878. Brown-black ink with graphite underdrawing on cream, thick, very smooth, highly calendered wove paper., Image: 12 x 16 5/16 in. (30.5 x 41.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of William A. White, 15.484
IMAGE overall, 15.484_bw_IMLS.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (86%)
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.