Eye Say!

My friend and I had a whistle-stop visit to London last weekend, armed and dangerous with sketching equipment. (And a licence to quill?) The plan was to first visit the Wellcome Collection in Euston Road to draw some of the weird and wonderful medicine-related items. I’d never been before, and was surprised by the range of items in Henry Wellcome’s private collection. Some of them were perhaps not what you’d want in your sketchbook for posterity…but others, well, here’s what I was drawn to:


What a lovely showcase of glass peepers it was! I immediately regretted my decision not to carry my watercolours, but was glad that at least I had the Tombows and a water brush to hand. Did you know that glass eyes aren’t necessarily full orbs, but sometimes half hollow spheres? There were a couple here, stacked on top of other eyes, in the front row, left and centre .

Passing up chastity belts and Chinese diagnosis dolls (amongst other things), my next attempt was a phrenology head. Not one of those fake ceramic ones, this one was a real skull which had been inked over with the areas, but the markings were very faded. The light levels were pretty low in the museum and so I opted for black paper with white gel ink.  It’s a little untidy and haphazardly shaded compared to my previous skeletal effort back in 2015, but I don’t mind that too much. In passing, I must mention that this museum provides little stools, so we were able to sit in comfort to draw – 10/10 for thoughtfulness!


So, this guy (or gal) had the last laugh with me at the Wellcome Collection. What happened next is another story…

10 thoughts on “Eye Say!

    • Wow! Now that’s a very interesting fact; I hope it was never an opportunity regretted. According to my friend, who had last visited some time ago, The Wellcome has changed a lot as they have narrowed down what’s on view and sent most of the jars of unmentionables over to the Hunterian at The Royal College of Surgeons. This in itself is being refurbed and is closing (in March I think) for 3 years while they overhaul it… Strange, the directions lives take. 🙂 I hope your drawing session was a good one, and that chairs were provided!;)


      • The V+A does provide chairs and was a rare place where there were lots of sketchers. I think the Wellcome collection used to be housed in the Science Museum. When I looked into it in detail, the job of curator seemed a very staid occupation with little chance for innovation.

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