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  • Image from alchemical manuscript.

    Alchemical images revisited

    16/12/2016

    Does monumental Truth lurk behind the colourful alchemical imagery of manuscripts held at the Wellcome Library? Images of this kind have fascinated scholars and artists for centuries, their rich symbolism being drawn on by Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Dryden, Goethe, Hugo,… Continue reading

  • Coleridge and the doctors

    21/10/2016

    For National Poetry Day we highlighted one of the poems in our collection: a rollicking travelogue that is sadly anonymous.  Much of the poetry in the Wellcome Library is anonymous – in many cases, it is amateur material bad enough… Continue reading

  • Shakespearean ‘simples’

    11/05/2016

    Dr Richard Aspin searched our 17th century recipe books to find out more about the herbal medicine found in Shakespeare’s plays. This is the last of our series of Shakespeare related blog posts. Locally harvested wild herbs were the foundation… Continue reading

  • Ghostly comings and goings in Shakespeare’s plays

    03/05/2016

    Ross MacFarlane goes ghost hunting through the ages in the next of our series of Shakespeare-themed posts. This Victorian engraving captures a key scene in one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. Hamlet claims to have seen the ghost of his… Continue reading

  • Who was the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Prospero?

    27/04/2016

    In Shakespeare’s play The Tempest the character Prospero uses magical powers to intimidate his enemies and to manipulate the natural world. The character may have been inspired by the Elizabethan mathematician, astrologer and book collector John Dee. Prospero is the… Continue reading

  • Shakespeare’s twins

    25/04/2016

    Why was Shakespeare so interested in twins? Did they have a special meaning for his audience? Dr Daisy Garofalo investigates in the second of our Shakespeare themed posts. Shakespeare features twin characters in two of his comedies, The Comedy of… Continue reading

  • Shakespeare’s medical world

    23/04/2016

    Why should a library that specialises in the history and culture of medicine commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death? Dr Anna Maerker, who provides a Shakespeare and Medicine lecture at the Wellcome Library for acting students, kicks off our… Continue reading

  • Bond villains and criminal anthropology

    30/01/2016

    Amongst the Libary’s collection of fiction is a copy of Dr No, featuring the redoubtable secret agent, James Bond, created by the ex-Naval Intelligence Officer, Ian Fleming. Both the cinematic and literary worlds of Bond are inhabited by vividly imagined… Continue reading

  • Burger’s Secret: discover an unexpected Conan Doyle story

    26/12/2015

    As legions of Sherlock fans await a visit to Victorian London and an encounter with The Abominable Bride on British television in the New Year, we thought a little-known tale from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would further whet the appetite. Burger’s Secret is a… Continue reading

  • Attending the Social History Society conference

    02/06/2015

    Last year in Newcastle I was lucky enough to present a paper at my first Social History Society conference. It was such a rewarding experience that I could not wait to go again. This year it took place over three… Continue reading