The Wellcome Collection is named after its creator Henry S. Wellcome (1853-1936), an American-born pharmaceutical manufacturer. Having achieved success in business, Wellcome started a second career as a collector, building his collection around the theme of the social and cultural contexts of health, internationally. The collection first opened in 1913, and was bequeathed on Wellcome’s death to a British charity, The Wellcome Trust. The prints, drawings, photographs, paintings and illustrated books in the collection are not so much an art collection, more a record of visual culture, iconography and documentation. From the Low Countries it contains works from the fifteenth to the twenty-first century, including about 3,000 prints, 8,000 books (printed and manuscript), and smaller numbers of paintings, drawings and photographs. Most were acquired from dealers, auctions, or other collectors. Exhibition loans are available.
William Schupbach, Research Development Specialist Visual Culture (May 2021)