How the »Wellcome Images Database« can help you to conduct research for your next novel

»Wellcome Images« is a database of 100.000 pictures, drawings, sketches & photos. It is connected with the famous Wellcome Library, which stores information about medical history and the human condition. 

As an author, you can easily find images for the scenes you want to write.  

 

1. Research for novel with images.

An image can help you to understand how your protagonists & supporting characters might act.

For example: In a scene just after a woman has given birth in 1420. You can see the doctor & a nurse, holding the swaddled child. Or in another birthing scene from 1800 A.D. –– the baby’s father is standing behind the woman, but isn’t touching her at all!

Images and research for your novel. L0000846 Gynaecological texts, Caesarean section

Images. L0015387 A birth-scene. Oil painting by a French (?) painter, Åbo, Sw
Wellcome Library, London

 

I send articles like these once a week: resources for authors who want to write about the past. 

 

2. The images can help you to explore what was known about a subject in a particular era.

For example: What does a woman’s body look like on the inside? Read, what was then ‘common’ knowledge on this subject in France in 1560.

L0017547 Anatomical fugitive sheet; female. Images.
Image: Wellcome Library, London

 See more of this flap-book here and here.

Click on each picture to learn more, and to read the full credits.

  

 

3. You can find first-hand information, like a drawing by an eye-witness.

For example: a patient’s hand covered with green smallpox-pustules. Dating from 1831.

Author, Delve Into Another Era >>
France: Conducting Research in the Bretagne Region
L0019716 Green Smallpox-pustules by Carswell.
Image: Wellcome Library, London

 

 

4. You can find additional reading material.

For example: You might unearth the book-cover of a resource, so that you can search for the actual book later. Like the 1850s casebook kept by the surgeons of the Royal Navy ship, listing the all patients & their sicknesses on board the St George.

F0002914 Royal Navy Surgeons' Case Book
Image: Wellcome Library, London

 

 

5. You can explore a certain scene in detail.

For example: the photo series of a female patient suffering from »hysteria« in the 1870s. See here the different stages of a so-called »hysterical attack«.

L0051709 Nouvelle iconographie de la Salpêtriêre
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
images@wellcome.ac.uk
http://wellcomeimages.org
Nouvelle iconographie de la Salpêtriêre
Attaque de sommeil hysterique (etat normal).
1889 Nouvelle iconographie de la Salpêtriêre
Société de neurologie de Paris.Salpêtrière (Hospital)
Published: –
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

 

L0074944 Periode Terminale: Extase. Planche XXIV.
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
images@wellcome.ac.uk
http://wellcomeimages.org
Periode Terminale: Extase. Planche XXIV.
Iconographie photographique de la Salpetriere : service de M. Charcot / par Bourneville et P. Regnard. Volume 1.
The text is by Bourneville and the photographs are by P. Regnard.
The plates in are mounted photographs (albumen prints) with letterpress captions.
Photograph
1876-1877 By: Paul RegnardIconographie photographique de la Salpêtrière : service de M. Charcot /
Birmingham Medical Institute,Salpêtrière (Hospital)Bourneville
Published: 1876-80.
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

 

L0074922 Attaque D’Hysterie: 1re Phase. Planche II.
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
images@wellcome.ac.uk
http://wellcomeimages.org
Attaque D’Hysterie: 1re Phase. Planche II.
Iconographie photographique de la Salpetriere : service de M. Charcot / par Bourneville et P. Regnard. Volume 1.
The text is by Bourneville and the photographs are by P. Regnard.
The plates are mounted photographs (albumen prints) with letterpress captions.
Photograph
1876-1877 By: Paul RegnardIconographie photographique de la Salpêtrière : service de M. Charcot /
Birmingham Medical Institute,Salpêtrière (Hospital)Bourneville
Published: 1876-80.
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

 

L0074924 Attaque D’Hysterie: Troisieme Phase. Planche IV.
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
images@wellcome.ac.uk
http://wellcomeimages.org
Attaque D’Hysterie: Troisieme Phase. Planche IV.
Iconographie photographique de la Salpetriere : service de M. Charcot / par Bourneville et P. Regnard. Volume 1.
The text is by Bourneville and the photographs are by P. Regnard.
The plates in are mounted photographs (albumen prints) with letterpress captions.
Photograph
1876-1877 By: Paul RegnardIconographie photographique de la Salpêtrière : service de M. Charcot /
Birmingham Medical Institute,Salpêtrière (Hospital)Bourneville
Published: 1876-80.
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

 

L0074923 Attaque D’Hysterie: Deuxieme Phase. Planche III.
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
images@wellcome.ac.uk
http://wellcomeimages.org
Attaque D’Hysterie: Deuxieme Phase. Planche III.
Iconographie photographique de la Salpetriere : service de M. Charcot / par Bourneville et P. Regnard. Volume 1.
The text is by Bourneville and the photographs are by P. Regnard.
The plates are mounted photographs (albumen prints) with letterpress captions.
Photograph
1876-1877 By: Paul RegnardIconographie photographique de la Salpêtrière : service de M. Charcot /
Birmingham Medical Institute,Salpêtrière (Hospital)Bourneville
Published: 1876-80.
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

 

 

6. You can find the exact description of an object.

For example: a portable X-Ray machine arranged for radiography, with a tube stand, couch, battery and an interrupter. Dating from 1915.

Side note: this installation is suitable for field use in war & may be stored in a motor transport vehicle. Maybe the right thing for a WW1 scene?

Images. M0016479 Portable X-ray installation, 1915
Image: Wellcome Library, London

 

 

7. You can weave in details that make your novel special.

For example: the 1901-1925 »Indexo« toothbrush which is made entirely of rubber, and shaped to fit over the index finger. The bristles are used to brush the teeth. As the image description reveals, these toothbrushes were provided to all United States and British servicemen during the First World War. (A scene, anyone? Soldiers in the midst of war testing the brand-new toothbrushes.)

Images for research. L0058113 'Indexo' finger toothbrush, New York, United States, 1901-19
Image: Wellcome Library, London

 

Author, Delve Into Another Era >>
Conducting Research in France, Bretagne: Monastery by the Sea

 

8. The best part? You can actually use these Wellcome images.

Most of the 100.000 pictures in the Wellcome Images database have been licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0. This means, as long as you give credit to the Wellcome Library, London, you could even use these images as illustrations, or as a cover image for your novel. Check out their exact Terms of use here.

Enjoy exploring the Wellcome images, writer: www.wellcomeimages.org

 

And if you need even more material to write your novel, contact me.

Let’s speak about a research collaboration. More here on http://researchforyourbook.com/catapult-first-draft.

Email me to initiate our conversation right here: Contact

Want to get my latest findings every Tuesday morning?

 

Author, Choose Your Time And Setting >>