Thursday, 20 April 2017

Q = Quite quirky and queer

Well, I guess I could save us all a bit of time and simply say that for evidence of queer and quirky things in the wonderful world of the Wellcome Collection, please refer to my posts for letters A through to P (with the possible exceptions of O and N). 
But there are far too many candidates for queer crying out for inclusion, too many examples of quirky tapping on my funny ha-ha and funny peculiar bones for me not to present just a small selection for your edification.

Starting with the what-the-? portrait of Sir Henry Wellcome as an insect.

Perhaps the fab hairy-caterpillar moustache inspired this. Or maybe Sir H was a bit of a pest.

Hundreds of thousands of these Pipes of Peace were sold in the early 1900s to people who suffered from asthma and bronchitis. Users inhaled a combination of water and the inventor  Hiram Maxim's own magical concoction, which he called Dirigo (pine, menthol and mint oils).

I took the long photo from behind the exhibit and the item is displayed at the top of a bookcase, hence all the ceiling lights in the pic... but you can still see 
how schmancy (and $£$£$£) some of the peace pipes were. Ironically, amongst Hiram's other hugely successful inventions is the first fully-automatic machine gun. 

A cord soaked in viper's blood was once worn as a necklace to provide protection from mumps. Ewwww... This one was purchased c.1800 from an apothecary in Venice by young Erik Piper on The Grand Tour — AKA The Georgian Gap Year.
I like to think Ez took it home as a gag gift for his dad. Cheeky funster.

Cited as Mr J Kay in the year 1820 and rendered in oil, this fellow is reputed to be suffering from 'a rodent disease'... possibly acquired during his Georgian Gap Year.

Cow pox is a disease transmitted by rats, but La grande verole — the great pox — was the preferred name for syphilis in polite society. 
And young Mr Kay's gnawed-looking nose, when coupled with his vampire-like incisors, suggests that he was afflicted with la grande verole (albeit of the congenital variety).
Mr J Kay... pffftsure
That's not his real name.
I reckon it's Mr JK — Just Kidding. 
Who'd sit for this portrait? 
Another slightly queer quirky thing about JK is that as I moved about in the gallery, attempting to minimise the reflection on the glass that protects the painting so I could take this shot, his eyes were definitely following me in that Disney-haunted-house kind of way. I think he may have known that my pet name for him is Rat Face. It could have been worse. I could have dubbed him Pox Head, but I'm too mature for that.

Amulet made from alabaster with bronze wings,
Pompeii, 100 BC - AD 100

Finally, because of the popularity of the running dick featured in letter K, and in no way because of my level of maturity, I bring you the flying dick.

Officially, it's Fascinus. 
An ancient god.
The divine phallus.
Protector against all evil.

I think several squillion women (and a few men) through history may beg to differ.

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


  1. Oh dear where did you find all this stuff... That's really quirky �� looks like Mr J Kay (yeah not I too windy of that's a fake name) had a really bad time.

    1. Poor old Ratface. He must have had a miserable time.
      Thanks for droppping by.
      I hope A-Z is living up to your expectations.

  2. The first photo reminds me of The Fly - remember that movie? The original, not the Jeff Goldblum one. And the flying penis???? Oh my.

    1. Yes, I DO remember that movie. And you are right.
      Not a fan of the flying penis? Isn't that a yoga pose?

  3. Paul McCartney's follow up album to Tug of War was Pipes of Peace. I wonder if it was inspired by Hiram Maxim's "Maxim Inhaler", an item I would gladly have in my collection of things if only for the delicious red box and the maker's brilliant monicker. Hiram Maxim...rolls off the tongue a treat. Shame I've already named my first born.

    1. It's a ripper name, isn't it.
      I know i can, trust you to have a Beatles connection for everything under the sun.

  4. Oh, you certainly have some great finds here Wendy. I love the flying phallu (sounds like a train name). Not so keen on old rat face though!

  5. Good grief - can you imagine how many men/women in Victorian or Edwardian England had bits missing due to the pox? Antibiotics were a godsend I'm sure.
    Leanne | cresting the hill

  6. Giggle! The first pic looks more like a hookah!

    That portrait of Mr JK is pretty good really, especially the eyes. The rest of him, er...

    The flying dick. They were obsessed with their jewelry, no?

  7. It DOES look like a hookah. I thought that's what it was when I first saw it. And its name makes it seem even more so.