The Brothers Quay film makers have produced a short animation for Channel 4 in which some of Wellcome's exhibits come alive after visitors and curators have gone home. In particular, it considers how the chests became embroiled within narratives of progress and modernity associated with the production and promotion of 'modern' pharmaceuticals and the establishment of a collection of objects through which Wellcome attempted to trace the 'history of medicine and mankind' from evolutionary perspectives. The various contributors, then, attempt to set Wellcome in the context of the intellectual framework of his own day—though the conclusion seems to be that he was somewhat isolated from that framework—and to ask what his collection might mean for us today; they also attempt to invoke the atmosphere of the collection. Here, on rack after rack, was evidence of the pharmacist's insatiable interest in the human body - its baffling complexity, its horrible diseases, its damage by war and all the ingenious but often futile ways ways in which men have tried to promote its wellbeing. And why so many hundreds of obstetric forceps, all slightly different but serving the same purpose? Wellcome can't possibly have bought them as functional medical aids without an eye for their beauty. Arnold likens Wellcome's rush to acquire ethnographic and other objects to today's ecological scramble to preserve disappearing flora and fauna; with the raison d'etre of the Kew Gardens Seed Bank or the Human Genome Project.
However, this is more successfully done by the images than the words; there is a certain unevenness of tone among the articles, from a quite conventional academic style to a much more personal, emotional one. Remarkably, many of the curios displayed are still in use today. John Pickstone writes more generally of the ways in which the history of medicine can be approached, while Ruth Richardson gives a more personal response to encountering the collection. Henry Wellcome appears to have caught the collecting bug at the age of four when he found a Neolithic axe head. His unrealised ambition was to create a museum of man. Photo: ivory figure with removable intestines, 17th 18th century.
A gory series of delivery forceps and surgery knives taken from a total collection of over 24,000 surgical instruments are also an eye-opener, as is an early anatomical figure with removable body parts from Germany circa 1700. Following an introduction to Wellcome and his phantom museum , seven lively, personal and thought-provoking essays by experts in each of the fields represented will use different corners of his collection to make connections with contemporary issues and to show how meaning is created from the stuff of the past. Was this the vacuum cleaner approach to collecting? The overwhelming size of Wellcome's hoard, and the rather shocking fact that he never set eyes on some of it, suggests he lacked the finesse and dedication of the conoisseur. This book brings to our attention the Wellcome museum that he set up, initially a collection of curios for his amusement and to aid students in their medical research. The book accompanies an exhibition at the British Museum. This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. From then on, he was fascinated by science and discovery.
The Wellcome Trust is one of the world's largest and most diverse independent biomedical charities, supporting a spectrum of activity from basic science to history of medicine. After his death, the items were parcelled out to museums all over the world in awesomely casual fashion; thousands were lost in the process. His museum was meant to facilitate the scientific study of the history of mankind and he regarded the systematic arrangement and study of artefacts as furthering knowledge just as much as the work carried out in his physiological and chemical laboratories. Pharmacist, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Wellcome built up the world's largest collection of objects related to medical history - more than a million by the time he died in 1936. And yet, as the Medicine Man exhibition shows, Wellcome was not undiscriminating.
A set of glass eyes that stare out from individual red satin chocolate box like compartments is certainly rather eerie! He and his colleague, Danielle Olsen, have shaped the exhibition to celebrate Wellcome's cornucopia of individual objects as well as make sense of his vision. Nevertheless, most implements on show also illustrate medical progress over the last few centuries as demonstrated by a range of artificial limbs which date from a sixteenth century iron forearm to its twentieth century aluminium counterpart. The final two essays look at Wellcome's contribution to modern medicine John Pickstone and the human remains within his collection Ruth Richardson. The book fascinates, not least because of the illustrations, which one can only describe as lavish and copious, however clichéd the phrase. Beautifully constructed artificial limbs of polished wood, metal and leather lay next to seventeenth century medicine jars sealed with parchment circles like modern jam-pot covers. But in the second room, visitors will be assaulted by the riotous result of Wellcome's buying sprees. Other men did his buying.
Superstition and faith healing were clearly alive in England as early as the 16th century, illustrated by the gold angel touch piece used during healing ceremonies from 1553-1558. Aware that his name would raise the price, he bought anonymously and would often send a junior in his firm to bid at auction. Ghislaine Lawrence looks at the development of the Museum for the Science of History, Francis Knight explores the Wellcome library, the archaeological interests of Wellcome are discussed by Chris Gosden where as John Mack turns his attention to medicine and anthropology. Wellcome was probably the last great collector. Or buys 516 pairs of obstetric forceps? Other articles look at the Wellcome Library and at Wellcome's forays into archaeology.
They are packed into a demonstration box like expensive chocolates, each eye occupying its own perfect square, edged in the brilliant pink of a barrister's ribbon. With a particular interest in anthropology and the history of medicine, and with ambitions to create a Museum of Man , Henry Wellcome 1853 - 1936 built up one of the world s largest but least known museum collections: it has been estimated that in 1930 it was some five times the size of the Louvre. He had agents all over the world trying to satisfy his lust for new items or subtle variations on things he already had. The eyes are not by any means the oddest items in Henry Wellcome's astonishing collection of medical artefacts - for sheer jaw-dropping surprise you have to see the 16th century iron chastity belt, lined with red velvet and complete with key, or the grisly array of amputation saws - but they sum up the marriage of science and art, beauty and cruelty, that characterises so much of what appealed to Wellcome in his voracious search for objects that illuminate the story of man. Inevitably, there was a powerful whiff of mortality about the exhibits, a reliquary feel to the coldstore, as well as many poignant examples of our instinct for survival. Now scattered among numerous institutions and studied in a wide range of disciplines, the collection spans centuries and continents, and includes both the beautiful and the banal. There are over 3000 Wellcome Trust funded researchers in more than 40 countries.
The densely-installed transparent vitrines were placed close together and strongly spot lit within a darkened room, to give the experience of standing amongst constellations of objects. Wellcome's broad-sweep approach to collecting may well appeal to contemporary audiences in a way that wouldn't have been possible in his own day. The paper examines the biographical, historical and commercial histories connected with these objects. Photo: Henry Wellcome in cowrie shell headress, © Wellcome Library, London. Arnold put on a pair of white cotton gloves and took me on a tour of the chilly west London vault where Wellcome's treasure trove was housed before being taken to the British Museum.
An interesting array of foreign religious relics also includes Spanish deity figures, a Persian astronomical and astrological manuscript and bones to ward off evil forces found in the Upper Ogave between 1870 and 1920. Books and manuscripts were his first buys. The British museum itself is a fabulous place for children to explore, with sarcophaguses and statues galore so hop on the tube to Tottenham Court Road, head over to Great Russell Street and see what you uncover. Designed to convey the astonishing scale and breathtaking range of subject-matter encompassed by the collection, Medicine Man will be a visual and intellectual feast. Muller of Liverpool and acquired before 1936.
And the laws about what you can do with indigenous materials are far stricter today. Packed full of photographs, these seven essays approach different aspects of the museum and its collection including its priceless and its banal artefacts. The little divisions ought to impose a kind of uniformity on them, but their multiple gaze is disconcertingly wonky and anarchic. The wealthier he became, the faster he indulged his passion and the more secretive he grew about what he had. It investigates how the mutual sharing of practice supports opportunities for pupils to discuss and investigate socially provocative issues and raises the issues of censorship. Drawing on methodologies and theories used to understand forms of material culture, this paper traces the spatio-temporal lives of a group of medicine chests manufactured by Burroughs Wellcome and Co.