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Preview Display: War, Art and Surgery

Levy Cases, Inner Hall

Open Monday – Friday 9am–5pm and Saturday 10am-5pm.


From 11 November 2013, four artworks by reportage artist Julia Midgley will be displayed in the foyer cases of the Royal College of Surgeons. They have been selected from over 150 works Midgley made over eighteen months observing military surgical training and rehabilitation at Headley Court, York, RCS and other sites. These examples will be exchanged every few months to demonstrate the diversity of this work.

The small display anticipates larger exhibitions of Midgley’s watercolours at the Durham Light Infantry Museum and Durham Art gallery from June 2014, and in the Hunterian Museum displayed alongside Henry Tonks’ First World War pastels from October 2014.

W.A.S. 018 © Julia Midgley 2013

The full exhibition at the Hunterian will be complemented by themed activities and an accompanying book. Visit our War, Art and Surgery landing page for further information.

Surgeons, the Great War and the RCS

Ground Floor Corridor

Open Monday – Friday 9am–5pm and Saturday 10am-5pm.


The Royal College of Surgeons holds in its collections a number of portraits of surgeons who served in the military, and to commemorate their contribution during the First World War six have been selected and are on display on the ground floor of the College.
All were knighted for their role in improving medical provision for the army; four served as Presidents of the RCS, and one as Dean of the FDS.

These are only six of the tens of thousands of medical officers, nurses, orderlies and stretcher bearers contributed to the life-saving work of the medical services during the Great War.


Art Cases, Hunterian Museum

Open Tuesday - Saturday 10am-5pm


Royal College of Surgeons Museum, 1899

The museum’s stored collections include specimens and images of extinct and endangered animals. This temporary exhibition will display the remains of prehistoric giants, such as the impressive woolly mammoth and the immense Megalodon shark, alongside creatures lost only a few decades ago, including the Tasmanian tiger. ‘Extinct’ raises questions about human interaction with the natural world and will also highlight the plight of critically endangered species.

Medical Models

Large Levy Case, College entrance hall

Open Monday – Saturday 10am-5pm


Models have been used in medical education for hundreds of years. Today, three-dimensional teaching aids still play a valuable role in surgical and anatomical training, alongside dissection and computer simulation. This display highlights innovations developed by museum staff at the Royal College of Surgeons of England. It also considers how models could benefit surgeons in the future.

Archive Facsimile Displays

The library and the archives of the College contain a wealth of material related both to surgery and more unusual subjects. A changing display of facsimile materials will reflect key national themes for 2013.

January-March 2014
Percival Pott (1714-1788) and James Paget (1814-1899)
We will commemorate anniversaries of two great surgeons in 2014. 6th January would have been Pott’s 300th birthday and 11th January, Paget’s 200th birthday. Both led the College, as Master or President, as well as producing influential publications and having medical conditions named after them.October-December 2013
Library display cases

Quacks & Cures

This display looks at some of the less regulated medical treatments represented in our archives, from household ‘recipe’ books of cures for common ailments to suspected practitioners of ‘quackery’ targeted by the College and the wider orthodox medical community. 
Ground Floor Display cases

April-June 2014
Surgery at the Outbreak of the First World War
Under the pressure of war surgical techniques tend to develop more rapidly, out of necessity, than they do during peacetime. These displays will look at the historical development of surgery and what methods surgeons were employing at the outbreak of the First World War.
Ground Floor and Library display cases

Library displays can be seen Monday-Friday 9.30am-5.30pm (call 020 7869 6555 before making a special visit).
Displays in the ground floor cabinets can be viewed Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm. Free to visit.

Exhibition archive

Find out more about all previous exhibitions in our Exhibitions archive »