Call of Interest: Collaborative Irish Medical Illustration Project

The libraries and cultural heritage units of Trinity College DublinRoyal College of Surgeons in IrelandRoyal College of Physicians of Ireland and University College Dublin are planning a collaborative digitisation project in 2019 and we would like to hear your opinion/thoughts/research interest in it.

This collaborative project entails making available online a unique and distinct archival collection of Dublin medical illustrations dating from the nineteenth century. If successful the project will digitise and create a unified digital platform for nearly 1,700 illustrations.

Listed below are some of the diseases featured in these fascinating medical archival collections:

  • Venereal
  • Digestive
  • Carcinogenic
  • Graves
  • Glanders

Some of these are unknown and may prove to be unrecognisable to modern physicians. Many illustrations have accompanying case studies shedding light on the illustrated disease, the treatment used, and on the patient themselves.

We believe that the research potential for this project is immense and diverse. Not only would it benefit the teaching of modern medics but also appeal to the areas of the history of medicine, social history and art history. A myriad of research areas would be able to draw inspiration from these illustrations: fashion, design, modern art and installation, authors etc.

So we ask you, would this collaborative project be one that you would potentially utilise in your research and if so how? We are trying to gauge the research potential before taking the application further so any ideas/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. You can contact me directly at meadhbh.murphy@ucd.ie

A sample of the illustrations are available to view on our Twitter account.

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