Tuesday, 5 October 2010

A Wellcome respite

Boroughs Henry Wellcome & Co, 1893

Skint and bored we headed into town, to discover a torture chair from the 1700s, truly gruesome, with blades where you sit, rest your feet and arms and along the back, I squirmed as I contemplated how much suffering had occurred on the device. Also on offer Darwin's cane fashioned from ivory complete with a skull head, an oil painting from 1800s portraying birth in all its bloody glory, and numerous other curiosities to enthral, phallic amulets, Florence Nightingales slippers, masturbation inhibitors, all sorts. The Wellcome Collection is essentially a medical collection, yet it's bounty extends far beyond; the exhibition in question was Medicine Man, an avid collector this small selection features some of Henry Wellcome's bibelots acquired over a lifetime (reportedly one million artefacts at the time of his death). Henry made his money from Pharmaceuticals, pioneering the use of tablets; he formed one of the largest private biomedical charities in the world.

Mummified male body, Peru, c1200-1400

What it says on the tin

Tattooed skin, French, 1850-1900

Male anti-masturbation devices, 1880-1920

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