About the Art Collection
The collection includes works from around the world. Most of the works were acquired between 1890 and 1936 by Henry Wellcome and his agents, but new works are added to the collection each year.
The collection forms a documentary resource that reflects the historical and cultural contexts of health and medicine. It is primarily an iconographic collection, concerned with the subjects of pictures rather than their aesthetic qualities.
There are examples of many different media and genres in the collection, including:
- 1300 paintings, including altarpieces, portraits and votive works
- Tibetan tankas
- photographic glass negatives and photograph albums
- posters on hygiene, exhibitions, and commercial products
- prints from all periods and in various techniques, from woodcut to silk screen.
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Accessing the Art Collection
All works in the Art Collection are held in closed stores. To find works in the collection, use the Library catalogue, and limit you search to the Art Collection by selecting 'Art Collection' from the drop down menu.
The Library catalogue also offers a genre search for finding artworks in specific media such as lithographs, engravings or oil paintings.
More about searching the Library catalogue
If you want to view works in the Library, you can request them through the catalogue. To save time, we recommend you order artworks from closed stores before you visit the Library.
More about request and delivery services in the Library
Limits on availability
Some materials from the Art Collection are restricted or unavailable, including:
- works on loan to exhibitions
- works undergoing conservation
- material containing sensitive personal data.
For information on how the Library assesses the sensitivity of personal data in the Art Collection, download the policy on Access to personal data within our research collections [PDF 1.85MB].
For more information about the Art Collection, email email@example.com or phone +44 (0)20 7611 8722 during Library opening hours.