This image was the result of a lead artist commission for University Hospitals Derby & Burton Medical Museum. It is primarily a response to a photograph of women queuing for a visit and a 1951 visitor’s card from the collection (below).
In this final image the basket, as symbol of womanhood, spills its contents as a visual metaphor for the ‘medical gaze’ experienced by women and responds to wider research around philosophy, medical history and cultural heritage in the period of the first Derbyshire Infirmary.
The chiaroscuro style is inspired by the candlelit science themed paintings of Joseph Wright of Derby and uses the semi-obscure background elements to reference underlying inequalities in healthcare and the tension between apothecaries and pharmacists.
The title is taken from the visitors card and also refers to the Diderot ‘Encyclopedie’ linking it to two other pieces created for the Air Arts ‘Cabinets of Curiosity’ exhibition across the UHDB Trust sites.