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an etching of artist Matthew Buchinger showing a man with a 17th century wig, looking out at the viewer in this fascinating self-portrait by a man born without arms or legs

A 1724 self-portrait by the artist Matthew Buchinger who was born without arms or legs. Image from the Wellcome Library, London

Etching Size: 36.4 cm x 25.5 cm Matthew Buchinger was born in 1674 in Anspach, Germany. He was the youngest of nine children. Buchinger migrated to England in the early 18th century and exhibited in London at the Two Blackamoors Heads in Holborn and the Corner House, near Charing Cross. The admission cost of one shilling for a front seat or sixpence for a back seat, attracted a well-heeled audience. A man of many talents, Buchinger played musical instruments such as bagpipes, dulcimer and trumpet, performed conjuring tricks, played skittles and nine pins, fired a pistol, danced a hornpipe in Highland dress, and was a celebrated artist. Examples of his fine penmanship are in the Harleian Collection of manuscripts at the British Library, London. This self-portrait was commissioned by the publisher Isaac Herbert for which he paid Buchinger 50 guineas – equivalent to over £3,000 today. Buchinger sold prints to his paying public.