Unorthodox heroine under the floor boards

Under the floorboards of the smart meeting room of the very grand Grosvenor Chapel, Mayfair, London is presumed to be the burial place of the woman who helped change medical history in ways even she could not have imagined.  In this image of the chapel stands my own metal jug of Cholera flowers.

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Lady Mary Wortley Montagu defied convention by introducing Smallpox inoculation into Western medicine. While visiting Turkey, she saw woman place Smallpox scabs into small wounds which were then carefully bandaged as an effective means of inoculating against Smallpox.  Keen to spare her children the suffering of this frightening disease, she had her son Edward inoculated.

SMALL POX LADY MARY MONTAGU

On her return to London, she promoted the procedure, despite resistance from the medical establishment and the church.  Buried in a locked crypt under Grosvenor Chapel, Mayfair, London, wrongly more famous for being the setting of the film Love Actually rather than the resting place of this enterprising woman.  Here is an image of my larger Cholera work.

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Smallpox

SMALLPOX PATIENT

Smallpox is an acute contagious disease caused by the Variola Virus. It is one of the world’s most devastating diseases.  The last known case was in Somalia in 1977. Following a global immunisation campaign lead by the World Health Organisation it was declared eradicated in 1989.  Smallpox is transmitted from person to person via infected droplets during close contact with an infected person. Here are images first of the Smallpox under the microscope and second, my own Smallpox inspired ceramic sculpture.

 

SMALLPOX VIRUS

My ceramic sculpture of the Smallpox virus