...you can’t grasp the Wellcome collection unless you can see the poetry in it. But until quite recently, the irrepressible curiosities and juxtapositions that make the collection captivating were regarded as an irrelevance, an embarrassment and a confounded nuisance to the people charged with putting it in order. When Henry Wellcome displayed his collection for the first time, he decreed that the museum should be “strictly professional and scientific in character”. His collection has resisted successfully ever since...From the article "The Wellcome at 75" by Marek Kohn in the Financial Times magazine. You can read the full article--from which the above was excerpted--by clicking here. You can view the complete slideshows--from which the above images are drawn--by clicking here and here. Click on images to see much larger images.
Thanks to the afore mentioned Ross Macfarlane for bringing this article to my attention!
Image captions top to bottom:
- Models of human skulls in ivory, silver and wood
- A pair of phrenological busts, 1821
- Tattoos. Wellcome acquired 300 tattoos collected by a Paris surgeon who was active in the late 19th century. They are kept in boxes for fear that they were treated with toxic chemicals
- Ivory anatomical figures, 17th-18th century
- Roman votives. Romans would offer models of afflicted body parts to a god to beg or give thanks for cures. The model on the left is also Roman but was not one of these votive offerings. It came from Pompeii, where it may have adorned a shop front
- Wax model of decomposing body in coffin, Italian, late 1700s
- Plaster death mask of Victorian murderer James Bloomfield Rush
- Stuffed coiled snake, 1897
- Chinese porcelain fruit containing couple in sexual foreplay