Introducing Helena!

Hi, my name is Helena and I am the new Archive and Digitisation assistant. My role, like Adele’s before me, is to assist in the digitisation and online accessibility of documents within the archive and historical book collection.  I hope to one day become a fully qualified archivist so this role is a wonderful opportunity […]

Farrier Sergeant Faris el Beini © IWM (Art.IWM ART LD 3085)

William Moss: one man’s journey through the Somme and Beyond

1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, is a day remembered as one of the worst in British military history. The attack commenced at 7.30am; by the end of the day, 19,240 British soldiers had been killed and three times that number injured. The battle lasted 140 days, and amongst […]

John Roalfe Cox – ‘a clever pen-and-ink draughtsman’

I have previously blogged about the almost 400 illustrations by Edward Mayhew that we have in our archives. We also have a number of other  smaller collections of illustrations, one of which is the illustrated notebooks belonging to John Roalfe Cox. John Roalfe Cox MRCS FRCVS (?-1903) graduated from London Veterinary School in 1849 after which […]

Gift Horse by Hans Haacke, Trafalgar Square

A Gift Horse

  Sitting proudly on top of the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square currently is ‘Gift Horse’ by Hans Haacke. The sculpture is based on illustrations from George Stubb’s Anatomy of the horse and so feels strangely familiar to me – apart from the live share-price ticker tied to its foreleg. Looking at our catalogue I […]

Cavalry before Arras by Herbert Lake

Shining a light on veterinary artists

The Lightbox in Woking, is currently showing an exhibition describing the role of horse and mules in World War 1.  The Horse at War: 1914-18  has a wide ranging display of artwork both from the war itself as well as more recent works, most noticeably ‘Joey’ the life size puppet from the National Theatre’s stage production […]

Plate 3. Front view of the bones of the fore foot of a horse in their relative situation

Strickland Freeman’s observations on the horses foot

Our historical collection has over two hundred books on farriery and horse shoeing many of which contain anatomical drawings of the foot of the horse.  One such book is Strickland Freeman’s Observations on the mechanism of the horse’s foot its natural spring explained, and a mode of shoeing recommended, by which the foot is defended […]

Animal phrenology

Eclipse and his ‘equine bumps’

In January 1828 the first two British veterinary journals started, these were The Veterinarian and the much shorter lived Farrier and naturalist. Both owed their origins to a desire to comment, and pass critical judgement, on the state of affairs at the London veterinary college. The  Farrier and naturalist is generally believed to be the […]

A very common variety

Scabies in the horse – the first Fellowship thesis

I was recently asked the date and subject of our earliest fellowship thesis.  A quick check on the catalogue showed it was written in December 1893 and titled ‘Scabies in the horse: does it demand legislation?‘ The thesis is a neatly written document accompanied by 12 hand drawn illustrations.  Regulations in place at the time […]

Illustration by Edward Mayhew the teeth of a three year old horse

Open wide

In a paper read before members of the Veterinary Medical Association (probably in 1849) Thomas Gowing said “I have …experienced great difficulties in many required operations on the teeth [of the horse] from the want of proper dental instruments.” His solution?  To invent a set of instruments which “I flatter myself, will be found useful… […]

Close up of head

Edward Snape’s muscular preparation

The library is currently having a makeover which has meant emptying shelves and cupboards.  One thing that has come out of its cupboard is a print titled ‘A muscular preparation of a horse with references.’ The inscription reads: “To His most Excellent MAJESTY GEORGE III. King of Great Britain &c &c. This Plate is most […]