Wednesday, 5 April 2017

D = Death and a doo-dad (with sing-along)

Death mask and executioner's mask in Medicine Man gallery
iPhone pic edited with Snapseed
I dithered about what to choose for the letter D, I really did. 
Death seemed too obvious. So I moved on to doo-dads. The Wellcome Collection is chock-full of doo-dads.
Sadly, doo-dads proved to be too unstructured — even for me. 
With the demise of doo-dads, I contemplated dick. Wellcome has more than a few of those on display. But I worried that we don't know each other well enough for me to discuss those. So dick got the metaphorical flick.
Egyptian canopic jars, French guillotine blade &
the death mask of Englishman Benjamin Disraeli.
Displayed in the same case, Medicine Man gallery

Always one to keep my readers' needs in mind, I felt sure nobody could cope with plague and pestilence so soon after the exposed flesh and gore of my letter C entry. Put a red line through disease. That will bring us back to... (sing along now in your best Julie Andrews' Maria Von Trapp-like voice...I'm trying my best to keep this cheery and upbeat) — that will bring us back to death -eth -eth -eth...

The contents of Henry Wellcome's pockets at his death 

Sir Henry Wellcome died at 12.40am on 25th July 1936. He was 82.
At the time of his death, one of the wealthiest, most curious, and best-travelled monomaniacs on the planet was carrying a pocket-watch, a one-dollar bill, some small change, his spectacles and a fine emerald ring.
That's it?
Pretty disappointing if you ask me.
I mean, I know the Queen doesn't have to carry about her pay-wave card and coin purse in case she has to use a parking metre, but I thought Sir Henry might've at least kept enough ready-cash on hand to do a sweet deal on any fossilised kidneys or gold-plated stethoscopes he might stumble across in the course of his daily dealings.

The only interesting thing is that emerald ring. 
Unless Sir Henry had exceptionally slender fingers, it doesn't look like it would have fitted him. There has to be a story there. 
So let's speculate.
Let's bring old Sir Henry back from the dead.
Where did he get that emerald ring?
Was he intending to give it to someone or did he carry it for good luck?
What do you think?

During the month of April, I am participating in the Blogging from A–Z Challenge.

My posts will all feature images of and by the Wellcome Collection, Euston, London: the free destination for the incurably curious.


  1. Duh, as the young ones say, I'm guessing your E post may be about emeralds. I had a chuckle with your D dilemmas., Deals on fossilised kidneys and other possibly dastardly deeds! :))
    Letter D Drat that darn dog
    Carmel | Earlier Years

    1. Not going to be E, Carmel... but stay tuned

  2. I always find stories like this fascinating - and there were so many interesting things lying around to collect back in his day (now you pay an arm and a leg for them) I think the ring was a prize find that didn't fit so he carried it for a good luck talisman.
    Leanne | cresting the hill

    1. There's a story in every item, isn't there. I'm glad I haven't bored you silly yet.

  3. Loved this although I'm a little disappointed you didn't choose dick haha! It makes me wonder what will be in my pockets when I die - in a totally non morbid way!

    1. Non-morbid for sure, Debbie. I'm adding 'Death handbag/pocket contents' to my blog topic list.

  4. I love doodads though.

    I like to imagine the emerald ring summons a genie. He was just waiting for the right time. Too late, though.

    1. A genie!? Well, I fear Sir Henry's collecting may have reached insatiable heights if he had a personal genie. It's a fun idea.

  5. Interesting connotations. I rarely have anything in my pockets but usually have my handbag.... or at least my wallet.... oh always have my mobile phone on me so guess that will count... and my keys if I am out driving. I am glad you didn't go for dick... I don't need to see more of those. I have three sons, now grown, but for a few years there I saw more than I needed to.
    Philipa aka Ozzypip
    Ozzypip Quilts

    1. LOL... I cannot promise there won't be a willy somewhere further down the alphabet.

  6. The dick got the metaphorical flick...what a great line. I'm glad it did. I'm really only interested in my own, and what it does with my partner, although the number of phallic statues and talismans etc around the world warrants a serious post on fertility. Apparently in Bhutan, which is one of the happiest countries on earth, there are phalluses hanging everywhere because they're lucky.
    My pockets? Wallet and 'to do' list. That's it.
    Emerald ring. It belonged to his mother, and he was looking for the woman who most reminded him of her, and she would be the recipient. Evidently his search was in vain.

  7. Maybe he wore the ring on his pinky finger! I am laughing at DA Cairns' comment above. We have our share of dick sculptures here. In fact, there's a huge statue of a woman sitting with her legs spread on a lawn. Really weird.

    My pocket would have a lone house key because I am terrified of being locked out by the autoshut door. I dare not bare my handbag though!

    1. I think a small family of mice could live for a month on the crumbs in the bottom of my handbag.

    2. And yes, I am enjoying the comments too. I love it when people respond in such funny and witty ways. I feel connected.

  8. didn't choose dick, and yet those canopic jars look rather, shall I say, phallic?

    Emerald ring mystery solved. It was to buy passage to Oz, or course.

    1. and why an american one dollar bill? Didn't he die in London? Inquiring minds want to know.

    2. You know you're the only one who noticed that. It bothered me too, coz the biographies say he died in maybe he was such a cheapskate he kept only $US in his pocket so he never had to pay for a round.

  9. Great post! Thanks for sharing!

  10. You know I always love a dick, Wendy!
    Anyway, was the ring perhaps something that belonged to a loved one that he couldn't bear to part with? :-)

  11. Fear not my naughty friend, there will be willy... further down the alphabet.
    Hmmm so you think Sir Henry might have had a romantic bone in his body after all?