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…