By Frances Larson
Richly illustrated all through, together with eight pages of colour plates, An Infinity of Things tells the tale of the best inner most assortment ever made, and the lifetime of the fellow at the back of it. American-born Henry Wellcome made his thousands as one of many world's first pharmaceutical marketers. Drawing on his significant wealth, he deliberate an outstanding museum full of treasures from all corners of the globe, charting the historical past of human health and wellbeing from prehistory to the current day. Demonstrating what can occur while a collector's aspirations are left unconstrained through wealth, Frances Larson explores Wellcome's lifestyles via his possessions, revealing the numerous tensions in his personality: among his abilities as a businessman and his hope for scholarly popularity; his interest and his perfectionism; and his philanthropic aspirations and his force for private glory. throughout the commencing many years of the 20th century he obtained a set so huge that later generations of employees took to describing its contents by means of the ton. yet Wellcome's museum used to be by no means comprehensive, and his assortment was once nonetheless saved in significant warehouses whilst he died, unseen and incomplete.
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Extra info for An Infinity of Things: How Sir Henry Wellcome Collected the World
Whenever possible, he would collect samples of the various historical prescriptions he was investigating and test their attributes. ‘I propose to go very thoroughly into the chemistry of the substances employed to ascertain what the actual physiological properties would have been’, he wrote to one of his associates. As if conWrming his own position within the vast historical compendium he was planning, as a man driven by science rather than supposition, Wellcome 34 A VERY FULL AND COMPLETE VOLUME proposed that magic itself could be empirically tested.
37 Temporary exhibitions provided essential promotional space, but they also gave companies the opportunity to scope out the competition, court potential clients, and generally keep abreast of the market, and they invariably produced a good show, as each exhibitor tried to outdo his neighbours. In the early 1880s, the newly formed partnership of Burroughs Wellcome and Company joined the ranks of established pharmaceuticals Wrms—among them, Allen and Hanburys, Beecham, Duncan Flockhart, and Thomas Morson and Son—on the trade fair circuit, hoping to make an impact and reap the rewards.
Members of non-industrialized societies were popularly assumed to be illogical, juvenile, and dim-witted. Their apparent A VERY FULL AND COMPLETE VOLUME 33 technological simplicity was automatically equated with mental naivety. ‘Primitive’ people, it was supposed, were more often than not led in their actions by habit and superstition rather than intelligence or reason. Wellcome had a diVerent theory about man’s medical past: Some authorities have in a very oV hand manner declared that they [primitive people] came to use them [animal products in medicine] Wrst as a part of their magic without rhyme or reason, and that there was no real eYcacy in any of the primitive methods.
An Infinity of Things: How Sir Henry Wellcome Collected the World by Frances Larson