Dr Squintum

Dr Squintum
Dr Squintum

1750-1800 / Engraving / Ministers, Preachers & Associates / Paper / Print
Engraving on paper
mid to late 1700s

Engraving of George Whitefield (1714-1770), titled 'Dr Squintum'. The seventh child of Thomas and Elizabeth Whitefield, George Whitefield was left with a squint by a bout of childhood measles. This resulted in the nickname 'Dr Squintum' in later life, among those who didn't like Whitefield. His squint is very pronounced in this engraving.

At Oxford, Whitefield met the Wesley brothers and became a member of the 'Holy Club', the fledgling evangelical group which preceded Methodism. Whitefield was an instant success as an evangelist and orator, and it was he who persuaded John Wesley to preach out of doors. Over the following thirty years, Whitefield's 'field preaching' attracted huge crowds in England, Scotland and the Americas, where he sailed seven times.

As time went by, Whitefield increasingly followed Calvinist doctrine, which brought him into collision course with the Wesley brothers, who argued against Calvinist views that grace and salvation were only for the few. Eventually, in the 1770s, Methodism divided into Wesleyan (Arminian) and Calvinistic branches.

See also 2001/8263 in the Online Collection for further information on Whitefield's relationship with the Wesley brothers, as well as the oil painting of Whitefield, 2011/12897, and the engraving 1993/1405.