Sunday, 25 November 2012

Death at the Wellcome Collection

Tete de Morte Postcard 1910 - Richard Harris collection

All the years I've lived in London and I've never been to the Wellcome Trust which is just opposite Kings Cross Station! Flicking through a magazine an advert for an exhibition on Death caught my eye and as husband had been nagging for ages to take me to the Wellcome Collection, we decided that this was the perfect place to be on a disgustingly grey afternoon in November.

Death in  all its guises - from our portrayal of death to our markers for the deceased is all found in this small but beautifully put together (and free) exhibition.

Skeleton Puppet - Richard Harris collection 

Collected over the years by Richard Harris, a former antique print dealer in Chicago, the exhibition includes illustrations, aretfacts, rare prints by the likes of Durer, Goya and Rembrant along with war art and antique metamorphic postcards. There are 5 themed rooms, Contemplating Death, The Dance of Death, Violent Death, Eros and Thanatos and Commemoration. 

Richard Harris says 'The collection was from the beginning meant to be shown as an exhibition to the public, never as a private, personal statement for my eyes only. I hoped to create a body of work that would chronologically and culturally capture the essence of Death through its iconography, from masterpieces of fine art to the incidental'.

You are also free to wander the galleries of the Wellcome Trust collection which has even more amazingly weird and wonderful pieces like a lock of George III hair and a Chinese torture chair. There is a great bookshop and lovely cafe with freshly made cakes - well worth a wander on a Sunday afternoon.



'Death: A self-portrait, the Richard Harris Collection' runs from 15 November 2012 to 24 February 2013 at Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, NW1 2BE.

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