Looking around the Reading Room, one of the first things I saw was the collection of Georgie Meadows
' textile work, her "stitched drawings" in jars ... rather high up, therefore hard to see the details -
I found a chair with a good view of another cabinet (also rather high up, on top of a bookshelf) and eventually tackled the anatomical wax moulages
(waxes showing injuries or pathological changes in the body; these are c.1930) and Jane Jackson's plaster and wax models, also from the 1930s (another of her models is here
Too high up and too far away for comfortable drawing, but after the "medical drawing" course I found these depictions of pathology interesting, and am still searching for what to use, and how, for depicting undulations in smooth surfaces. This attempt used compressed charcoal. The three "people", faintly done with pencil, are a boy with rickets
, a woman with Cushing's syndrome
, and an elderly woman (is old age a disease??).
This wonderful machine with its unknown components allowed for drawing from a distance and then getting closer. That's a sort of scientific approach: from the distance you formulate the hypothesis, sketch it out; then you test it by looking carefully and closely and readjusting the parameters -
The intriguing contraption is the Pohl Omniskop x-ray machine
from Germany, 1925-35. The chatty attendant showed me the features of the machine - the patient was positioned on the board, which could be moved (with counterweights and a motor) into a variety of positions. The screen and the cathode ray tube behind it could be moved along the body, and also around the body. It hardly looks comfortable, and doses of radiation were high, but this was cutting-edge technology
at the time.
, inventor of the machine, was a technical autodidact. In 1902 he founded a firm making medical and surgical instruments, with an early focus on x-ray technology. By the 1930s he had filed 150 patents in various areas, and his colleagues and students went on to found other medical instrument firms. The Omniskop was developed in the 1920s and came to be used internationally. In 1947 Pohl received an honorary doctorate from Christian Albrects University in Kiel, where he had been taken by his mentor in 1899.
I went on to look at the levers etc that were used for adjustments -
Other objects of interest were this gas-driven prosthesis
for a thalidomide child in the 1960s - the irony being that when it was being worn, the child couldn't use its own hands -
and this blown-glass model of the ebola virus -
It was the jars and mortars that caught Mags' eye -
She drew the glass with hard and soft pencil, as light-on-dark and dark-on-light -
and the wooden mortars to show their woodenness -
The chair under the stair appealed to Janet (drawn while she was sitting in its twin) -
and later she drew the chair I was sitting in, near the x-ray machine -
Sue started with some appealing objects from the amulets cabinet -
and moved on to these -
straightjackets and their shadows -