Wellcome Library

I just learned today that the Wellcome Library had made it’s collection of images available through Creative Commons. The Wellcome Library is funded through the Wellcome Trust. And Wellcome was take over a few years ago to become part of Glaxo Smith Kline. Remember all the controversies about patent protections versus generic drugs? Here’s a link on the topic. http://www.theguardian.com/society/sarah-boseley-global-health/2010/mar/12/hiv-infection-pharmaceuticals-industry So it’s rather ironic that they are offering up the images for us to use. The Library collection might be a good source of material for art that critiques Big Pharma, as I did in Benign Sells, Malignant Sells. 

The images in the library are fascinating. I found this one

L0051649 An affluent man receiving galvanic electric therapy from aGalvanism in Piccadilly.

An affluent man receiving galvanic electric therapy from a French quack doctor, while staring intently out of the window. Coloured etching.
The patient says: “Mercy on me, what a wonderful effect – bless me, theres a pretty girl over the way – I’ve a greate mind to run after her.” The operator of the electric current replies: “Dere mi – you Angloise – you no believe in galvanism – be gar two-dree shock more make you young again.”
Published: Roberts.[London] ([128] Middle Row) :
Size: platemark 25.6 x 34.9 cm.
Collection: Iconographic Collections
Library reference no.: Iconographic Collection 11822i
Full Bibliographic Record Link to Wellcome Library CatalogueCopyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/I wasn’t familiar with Galvanism so did what we all do and checked it out on Wikipedia. Luigi Galvani was a scientist who discovered a phenomenon he called animal electricity, believing that the nerve twitches in dead frogs were caused by a type of electricity. This idea lead to several things, including electro-shock therapy to “cure” or aid mental illnesses. It was also thought that it could bring the dead to life and that idea gave us the classic Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. It is also the source of the verb “to galvanize”, as in “We were galvanized into action.”
Here’s another favourite. I can’t wait to discover more!
L0012192 Fever, represented as a frenzied beast, stands racked in theL0012192 Credit: Wellcome Library, London
Fever, represented as a frenzied beast, stands racked in the centre of a room, while a blue monster, representing ague, ensnares his victim by the fireside; a doctor writes prescriptions to the right. Coloured etching by T. Rowlandson after J. Dunthorne, 1788.
Coloured etching 1788 By: James Dunthorne after: Thomas Rowlandson and John Milton
Published: T. Rowlandson,[London] (50, Poland St.) :  29 March 1788
Size: platemark 41.6 x 56.1 cm.
Collection: Iconographic Collections
Library reference no.: ICV No 12244
Full Bibliographic Record Link to Wellcome Library CatalogueCopyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/


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