Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Felicity Powell’s “Charmed Life – The Solace of Objects” at Wellcome Collection, London

by Suzanne on October 15th, 2011

© Felicity Powell, wax on back of mirror – click to enlarge (slightly)

As part of the Wellcome Collection’s Miracles & Charms exhibition exploring objects of faith, hope and chance, artist, miniature sculptor and medal-maker Felicity Powell has been invited to enchant us with her vision of the Charmed Life by breathing new life into 400 carefully selected amulets from Henry Wellcome’s collection – presented alongside her own mythological works.

Powell is a bit of an elusive one and information about her scarce on the web which is why I’m all the more excited to finally be given the chance to see her work in London.


Skull by Felicity Powell, wax on back of mirror, 2009 – click to enlarge (slightly)

The wonderfully bright and eloquent art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon once said about her work:

“[...] a series of astonishingly virtuoso, utterly compelling and haunting miniature bas-reliefs on the theme of strange Ovidian metamorphoses – human heads that are turning into outcrops of coral, figures shape-shifting into trees, or octopi, faces wreathed in snakes. Worked, with wondrous subtlety, from white wax on dark mirror glass, each one is a miracle of ingenuity.”

Well there… he said it, the word I’m always afraid to use, “miracle”, and he embedded it in a correct and justified context. Because watching Felicity create her works is truly that: Absolutely miraculous.

Charmed Life is part of the Miracles & Charms season and will remain on show until the end of February 2012.

Also on show at the Wellcome is Infinitas Gracias – a grand display of over 100 Mexican votive paintings.

Further details below.

© Felicity Powell, wax on back of mirror – click to enlarge (slightly)

On show: Oct 6, 2011 – Feb 26, 2012

Address: Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, UK, tel: +44 (0)20 7611 2222, email: info@wellcomecollection.org | Map & Directions

Hours: Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat: 10 AM – 6 PM, Thu: 10 AM – 10 PM, Sun: 11 AM – 6 PM

Admission: FREE

Miracles & Charms | Charmed Life

WurzelForum discussion

Maria Domenica Lazzari – Patron Saint of Anorexic Self-Harmers (Not Really)

by Suzanne on April 26th, 2011


Maria Domenica Lazzari by L. Giuditti after L.G. de Ségur, watercolour, 1846, Wellcome Library – click to enlarge

I SWEAR I was going to post this in time for Good Friday, but then, the internet’s Madame Morbid beat me to it and I thought PFFFFFFT… FINE.

But you know me, and I just can’t let it be and have to compulsively share great imagery and I don’t think anyone could get tired of stigmatics.

Particularly stigmatics as hardcore as Maria Domenica Lazzari a.k.a. L’Addolorata who is depicted above (.. and obviously in the detail below, duh!) – brought to my attention by the amazing Wellcome Library blog. Make sure to click on the images to view them bigger.

There is something about her vacant stare that reminds me of the creepy photos of Anneliese Michel‘s exorcisms.

Then there’s the dried blood that automatically brings to mind the Spot Portraits of the great Timothy Cummings, the Utrechtse Krop pictures D R Tenge posted recently or Lilliputrid’s collection of Skin Diseases – a subject the Wellcome Collection itself devoted a recent exhibition to (that left me rather unimpressed).


Maria Domenica Lazzari (detail) by L. Giuditti after L.G. de Ségur, watercolour, 1846, Wellcome Library – click to enlarge

The Wellcome Library blog quotes from three letters by T.W. Allies who visited L’Addolorata in the summer of 1847 – she died around Easter the following year, aged 33…

“We intend to go on towards Venice on Tuesday; we think of stopping at Verona, and going north into the Tyrol, to see the Addolorata, I do no not know if you have heard of her. She has now been many years subsisting almost without nourishment, having on her hands, feet, and side the marks of our Saviour’s wounds, and on her head a series of punctures representing the Crown of Thorns. Blood drops from all of these on Friday. I spoke with an eye-witness of this at Paris. The thing seems marvellous enough to go a hundred miles out of one’s way to see it. [...]

[...] Three weeks afterwards her family found her in the morning with a handkerchief covering her face, in a state of great delight, a sort of trance; on removing the handkerchief, letters were found on it marked in blood, and Domenica’s brow had a complete impression of the Crown of Thorns, in a line of small punctures, about a quarter of an inch apart, from which the blood was flowing freshly. They asked her who had torn her so (chi l’aveva così pettinata?) she replied, ” A very fair lady had come in the night and adorned her. [...]

[...] Her breast heaved with a sort of convulsion, and her teeth chattered. On the outside of both hands, as they lie clasped together, in a line with the second finger, about an inch from the knuckle, is a hard scar, of dark-colour, rising above the flesh, half an inch in length, by about three-eighths of an inch in width; round these the skin slightly reddened, but quite free from blood. From the position of the hands it is not possible to see well inside, but stooping down on the right of her bed I could almost see an incision answering to the outward one, and apparently deeper. I leant over her head, within a foot of the Corona on the forehead, and closely observed the wounds. She looked at us very fixedly, but hardly spoke.”

by suzanne_tumblr on November 16th, 2010

“When morphine for injection was first introduced it was often injected just under the skin rather than intravenously, though this could lead to abscesses and scarring as shown here. This ‘morphinomaniac’ subject was a male nurse pictured shortly before his death.” (Illustration by H H Kane, 1881 – courtesy Wellcome Images)

Yo, Londoners! Get your lazy arses to Euston’s Wellcome Collection to check out their new show High Society

by suzanne_tumblr on March 24th, 2010

(via unnaturalist)

Vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas

This is part of the Wellcome Collection’s permanent Medicine Man display and should not be missed if you’re near Euston. 

by suzanne_tumblr on January 2nd, 2010

… and now back to our noble species: Collotype after photographs by E. Muybridge (Wellcome Library no.27769i)

by suzanne_tumblr on October 25th, 2009

Two watercolours by Mabel Green (top one 1902, bottom one 1896 – via Wellcome Library)