Royal College of Physicians Museum archives in photography

Royal College of Physicians Museum archives in photography


Showing at the Royal College of Physicians Museum, London, from 23 January 2023, photography exhibition ‘Unfamiliar’ frames clinical objects from the museum’s archives in a compelling new light.

‘Unfamiliar’ at Royal College of Physicians Museum 

Photographer Theo Deproost’s take on the historic clinical tools carefully selected by physician associate Debbie Jegede brings art and science into one common realm, and places unlikely objects at the core of an exhibition. The photographs see snuff boxes, stethoscopes and items unidentifiable to the clinically uneducated eye suspended in an otherworldly cloud of colour and contrast. 

Clinical glass vessel with stoppers photographed in abstract way for 'unfamiliar' at the royal college of physicians museum in london, by theo deproost

(Image credit: Photography: Theo Deproost)

The original objects, from the museum’s clinical and fine art collections, are displayed alongside the images. As co-curators, Deproost and Jegede have ensured they ‘honour the historical significance of the objects whilst also transporting them to a realm beyond any specific time period’, says Deproost. In doing so they have created ‘a new, undefined space for the viewer to study and re-interpret the items’.

‘This exhibition presents something very different for the Royal College of Physicians Museum,’ says Lowri Jones, senior curator of the museum. Using the unfamiliarity of the items as an obvious starting point, Deproost’s photographic style introduces further layers of intrigue. 

Clinical glass vessel photographed in abstract way on purple background

(Image credit: Photography: Theo Deproost)

Jones considered the unique nature of the exhibition in comparison to previous shows at the museum, valuing the chance to be able ‘to bring together Debbie and Theo’s contrasting medical and artistic backgrounds’. She adds that the exhibition ‘demonstrates how effective collaborations between the arts and sciences can be’.