By | Events and Visits

This Friday (26th November) sees an all-building evening event in Wellcome Collection: Hands. Through a series of activities, talks and installations, the event will focus on the myriad ways our hands can sense, communicate and create.

Hands will be examining items from the Wellcome Library’s collections from a number of different angles. Activities in the Library Reading Room will focus on handwriting: a selection of handwritten letters from our archives and manuscripts will be on display, along with an analysis of each by graphologist David Bennett, who will also be on hand (no pun intended) during the evening to analyse visitors’ handwriting.

There will also be an opportunity to try Arabic calligraphy with Soraya Syed, and European calligraphy with Patricia Lovett. Visitors will also be able to find more about the art of palaeography with Professor Michelle Brown from the School of Advanced Studies, University of London.

Meanwhile, the evening also sees the launch of a new temporary exhibition at Wellcome Collection, featuring pictures exclusively from Wellcome Images.

This exhibition, in the Lightbox on the first floor of Wellcome Collection, features seven themes exploring hands throughout history, each offering a different perspective on how hands are linked with identity, communication and medicine. These are illustrated with images from the Wellcome Library’s collections, traversing a wide range of materials, including books, manuscripts, oil paintings and letters.

Highlights of the exhibition include the story of Valentine Greatrakes (shown above), an Irish faith-healer who claimed to cure scrofula or ‘the kings evil’ just by laying his hands on the patient. There is also a section on palmistry and what the lines on your hands might foretell, and a section on graphology, examining the handwriting of Lord Nelson, David Livingstone and Anthony van Leeuwenhoek.

The Hands event takes place this Friday eveing at Wellcome Collection. The ‘Hands’ Lightbox exhibition will run from 26th November 2010 until mid-February 2011.

Authors: Eleanor Lanyon and Rachael Johnson

Image: Valentine Greatrakes. Oil painting. (Wellcome Library no. 45644i)

Ross Macfarlane

Ross Macfarlane is the Research Engagement Officer at the Wellcome Library.

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