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Friday, 14 January 2005


The Phantom Museum: And Henry Wellcome's Collection of Medical Curiosities, Peter Blegvad, AS Byatt, Helen Cleary, Tobias Hill, Hari Kunzru, Gaby Wood, London: Profile Books, 206 pp, $20.00.
Businessman and philanthropist Sir Henry Welcome, co-founder of the former Wellcome & Co., London, one of the first giant pharmaeceutical companies, was fascinated by the anthropology and history of medicine. His great ambition was to trace the story of the human body. By the time he died in 1936, he had built one of the largest museum collections in the world. Five times the size of the Louvre, his collection is now scattered amongst a hundred instititutions, including the Wellcome Trust, the British Museum, and the Science Museum. The Phantom Museum offers some personal responses to this vast, but little-known collection.