HOT TREND: Anatomy

November 2, 2010

If you’re squeamish, look away now. This trend’s gory, medical, macabre and PERFECT for Halloween. Shame I forgot to post it on the 31st really. Hmm. It is now the 2nd of November, alas. In fact, it’s nearly the 3rd. But bear with me…

Let’s kick things off with a quick visit to the mama of industrial and retro buys, Elemental, for stunning vintage ‘Elementary Physiology, Hygiene and Ambulance’ posters. The colours are vibrant, but the diagrams are not for the faint hearted. This is science-chic at it’s peak!

We’ve admired RE‘s skeleton plates AKA Bone China before on here (darn it, I knew I should have saved them…) so let’s move swiftly on to more macabre, medical buys:

Clockwise from top left: Heart model and skull objet from Ben Pentreath; a blingy diamanté-encrusted skull from Dwell; and vintage cream/paste pots and medicine bottles from Retropolitan. I have one of these old medicine bottles in the bathroom. I googled the strange name on it and found it used to contain a kind of medicine for measles. But it still looks very pretty with a flower stem in it!

Phrenology’s always fun at parties. (I made that up). So, I love this Phrenology Print from Mary Evans on Amazon. You can get a large, ceramic Phrenology head from Amazon, too. I’ve studied this head in detail and I still can’t find the area of the brain that controls ‘strange trend-related shopping decisions’, but there must be one. Surely. Here’s a £5 tea towel from RE – ripe for framing, me thinks…

If you like all things gory and live in London (or even if you don’t – there’s a ‘virtual tour‘ to check out!) you must visit the Old Operating Theatre in SE1.

It’s a fascinating place – and the process of ‘digitising’ the museum’s collection of hideous instruments, pill boxes, bottles and operation-related bits and bobs is underway. Sadly, it seems to involve a slightly out-of-focus camera…but you can see all the photos online in their new gallery which is interesting to browse, niggles aside. I’ll spare you the amputation saws and the more scary-looking ‘tools’ in case you’re eating, but here’s a sneaky peep at what’s on display:

Check out the Old Operating Theatre online shop to buy syringe pens, anatomical key rings, life-size skulls and a postcard featuring ‘the absolute cure for an in-growing toe nail’. It’s too horrible to repeat. But it involves a hammer. With this trend, it’s best to stick to just one or two accessories I feel. Unless you’re up for turning your living room into an apothecary shop à la Sibella Court, who pulls it off nicely. If you are, throw caution to the wind – stuff your bell jars full with curiosities, deck the halls with taxidermy, arrange a human skeleton on your sofa and sit back to sip tea from a vintage Victorian sputum mug. Milk? Sugar? TB? – Ellie

Rupert Blanchard is a scavenger with style. He’s been all over London, finding, reclaiming and collecting odd drawers, and has up-cycled them into beautiful pieces for his ‘New Furniture’ collection. ‘Every drawer has been salvaged without its original carcass or housing,’ he explains on his blog. ‘I don’t use or collect drawers that already have a use in an existing piece of furniture.’ The results of Richard’s work are impressive – he’ll be launching the range later this week, but here’s a sneaky peek:


rupert blanchardEvery drawer has a story behind it. Rupert’s collection includes, among many others: oak haberdashery shop drawers from Battersea, Singer sewing machine table drawers from a factory in Shoreditch, a handle found in Brick Lane and a teak-fronted 1950s office desk drawer from Clapham. I really like these pieces of furniture and they prove, once again, that recycled furniture can be just as stylish as new designer furniture – if not more so, because it oozes history and charm. I’m looking forward to meeting Rupert on Thursday at his launch party to find out more. – Ellie