Researching at the Wellcome Collection

I'm excited to be taking part in Outside In's collaboration with the Wellcome Collection, Step Up, Interpreting Collections. Over the next few months I will be learning how to research specific items from the collection.

The first stage was to choose one item from the Medicine Man collection to focus on. This was no easy feat as it is full of interesting pieces! Just a few of my favourites are a scold's bridle, ex voto paintings, an African reliquary, a golden touch piece, an african Nkisi nail figure, the list goes on! I narrowed it down to the 'faith' theme of the exhibition, and from there I came to focus on amulets.

A page from my sketchbook

There are amulets in the Wellcome Collection from around the world, starting with Roman phallic amulets, progressing to more recent African and Sioux amulets. I was most interested in a collection of British amulets collected by Edward Lovett. Collected in and around London in 1900's, it includes a paper cat badge, medals of saints and a cowrie shell with a compass attached - all worn by soldiers in WW2. I am also interested in the amulet collection of Dr Walter Hildburgh.

I am attracted to amulets because they speak to our need for objects to give us comfort. I also like that they are small enough to carry on your person. In the next session we will be visiting Blythe House, where the Wellcome's archives are kept. Exciting stuff!


  1. Do you have an email through which I could contact you about your work? I would like to include your work at Bethlem in a paper that I am writing about artists' responses to psychiatric hospitals.

  2. You can contact me here:


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