London’s Wellcome Library, part of Great Britain’s Wellcome Trust, has made freely available over 100,000 high resolution images including manuscripts, paintings, etchings, early photography and advertisements through Wellcome Images.
The images can be downloaded in high-resolution directly from the Wellcome Images website for users to freely copy, distribute, edit, manipulate, and build upon, for personal or commercial use. The images range from ancient medical manuscripts to etchings by artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Francisco Goya.
The earliest item is an Egyptian prescription on papyrus, and treasures include exquisite medieval illuminated manuscripts and anatomical drawings, from delicate 16th century fugitive sheets, whose hinged paper flaps reveal hidden viscera to Paolo Mascagni’s vibrantly colored etching of an ‘exploded’ torso.
Other treasures include a beautiful Persian horoscope for the 15th-century prince Iskandar, sharply sketched satires by Rowlandson, Gillray and Cruikshank, as well as photography from Eadweard Muybridge’s studies of motion. John Thomson’s remarkable nineteenth century portraits from his travels in China can be downloaded, as well as a newly added series of photographs of hysteric and epileptic patients at the Salpêtrière Hospital.
Simon Chaplin, Head of the Wellcome Library, says “Together the collection amounts to a dizzying visual record of centuries of human culture, and our attempts to understand our bodies, minds and health through art and observation. As a strong supporter of open access, we want to make sure these images can be used and enjoyed by anyone without restriction.”