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Successful Appeals

We have an ongoing programme of appeals in support of the history of the College and Surgery, please see below some of the previous successful stories that your generosity has achieved.

If you are interested in supporting our surgical heritage, please take a look at our Conserve our Collections scheme which supports items from the Museum, Archives and Library collections.

War, Art & Surgery - raised £9,748

Julie Midgley illustrationIn 2014, to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, The Hunterian Museum, in partnership with the Imperial War Museum, staged the exhibition War, Art and Surgery.

With unprecedented access to military facilities, the artist Julia Midgley created over 150 pieces of reportage artwork, representing wounded soldiers on their road to recovery.

We needed to raise £8,000 for the creation, framing and conservation of the artworks, achieving this we created this unique cultural resource.

If you would like to support a heritage appeal Conserve our Collections in an ongoing scheme which supports Museum, Archive and Library collections.

Dame Barbara Hepworth - raised £3,837

Barbara Hepworth's painting entitled 'Concourse (2)'The RCS invoked the services of Julia Nagle Conservation Ltd, a renowned painting restoration company, who assessed the condition of the painting worked to return it to its original condition.

The painting was on two separate boards and joined from behind, over time the boards had shrunk and created a gap. The gap between the boards widened since entering the RCS collection and appeared as a dark crack, which was visually disturbing as it extended all the way across the middle of the composition.

“Concourse (2)” By Dame Barbara Hepworth post-conservation

Joseph Lister Lecture Rolls conservation - raised £2,875

Sir Joseph Lister is most famous as the pioneer of antiseptic surgery. As well as being a practising surgeon he also taught at Glasgow, Edinburgh and at King’s College London. We hold an impressive Lister collection (ref. MS0021) including correspondence, case notes, drawings, commonplace books, and lecture notes. These large rolled drawings are the equivalent of PowerPoint slides today and we believe that Lister’s wife Agnes (daughter of Professor James Syme) produced them, as she kept most of his records for him. The drawings on the rolls show bacteria viewed through a microscope, in combinations of solutions of sour milk, boiled milk, Pasteur’s salt solution and urine.

The rolls were first relaxed (the paper used was particularly coarse and had become brittle with age) which enabled the conservator to clean the surfaces. They used trusted methods of cleaning paper without losing any of the markings. Once clean, both minor and major tears were repaired using Japanese tissue paper. They were even able to join two parts, which had been stored as separate rolls, back together. With the rolls cleaned and repaired they re-housed them on bespoke tubes and wrapping them in archival papers to protect them from the environment and accidental damage.


Before and after conservation

Tonks Drawings Conservation - raised £14,307

A hidden Tonks portrait discovered by conservatorsThe Tonks Conservation Project was a two-year undertaking by the Hunterian Museum to conserve and restore a unique collection of 72 pastel drawings drawn by the medical artist Henry Tonks (1862-1937). These paintings were in need of care and conservation before they became irreparably damaged and this valuable record of the devastating impact of war and the genesis of a new surgical era lost forever.

All 72 of the Tonks drawings were treated and cleaned in stages and remounted into new frames.  The cleaning and repair of the drawing was a delicate and time-consuming task but once completed the drawings were hinged into acid-free mounts in their original sets of four, and placed into frames fitted with low-reflection laminated glass. The new frames are larger than the old ones, so the drawings are better spaced. The mounts no longer cut off important information like soldiers’ names which were often written in the margins.

Interesting finds

The project produced an exciting new find as hidden from view on the reverse of one of the drawings was a previously unknown portrait.  Dr Andrew Bamji, Curator of the Gillies Archive, identified the patient as Private T J Guthrie of the 1st Canterbury Regiment of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. Guthrie arrived at Queen Mary’s in May 1917 and underwent two operations by Gillies including an osteoperiosteal graft to the mandible.

Hidden portrait of Private T J Guthrie.

Now conserved the collections are available for loan to museums, galleries and art schools and for use in the Hunterian Museum’s schools learning and access programme.

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