Illustrations of heads showing surprise and aversion. Holograph manuscript by Louis Charles d'Ourches Bigarures. Credit: Wellcome Library, London
We are delighted to announce that over 100,000 high resolution images including manuscripts, paintings, etchings, early photography and advertisements are now freely available through Wellcome Images.
Drawn from our vast historical holdings, the images are being released under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license.
This means that they can be used for commercial or personal purposes, with an acknowledgement of the original source (Wellcome Library, London). All of the images from our historical collections can be used free of charge.
The images can be downloaded in high-resolution directly from the Wellcome Images website for users to freely copy, distribute, edit, manipulate, and build upon as you wish, for personal or commercial use. The images range from ancient medical manuscripts to etchings by artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Francisco Goya.
The earliest item is an Egyptian prescription on papyrus, and treasures include exquisite medieval illuminated manuscripts and anatomical drawings, from delicate 16th century fugitive sheets, whose hinged paper flaps reveal hidden viscera to Paolo Mascagni’s vibrantly coloured etching of an ‘exploded’ torso.
Other treasures include a beautiful Persian horoscope for the 15th-century prince Iskandar, sharply sketched satires by Rowlandson, Gillray and Cruikshank, as well as photography from Eadweard Muybridge’s studies of motion. John Thomson’s remarkable nineteenth century portraits from his travels in China can be downloaded, as well a newly added series of photographs of hysteric and epileptic patients at the famous Salpêtrière Hospital
Simon Chaplin, Head of the Wellcome Library, says “Together the collection amounts to a dizzying visual record of centuries of human culture, and our attempts to understand our bodies, minds and health through art and observation. As a strong supporter of open access, we want to make sure these images can be used and enjoyed by anyone without restriction.”
If you are using Internet Explorer, just clear your browser cache to ensure that you’re directed to the updated site with the high resolution content.
Should you need any more information about the launch of these historical images, please don’t hesitate to contact the Wellcome Images team.
Author: Phoebe Harkins is Communications Co-ordinator at the Wellcome Library.
This post was amended on 15/04/2014 to update the CC-BY license link from 2.0 to 4.0.
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