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What's On

What's On

Henry Tonks

The Face of War: Figuring Empathy in Pat Barker's Life Class

21st June 2012, 19:30 to 21:00, The Durham Light Infantry Museum
Dr. Anne Whitehead, Newcastle University
This talk is the last in a series of three special events presented as part of the exhibition 'About Face' held in partnership with the Durham Light Infantry Museum Art Gallery. The exhibition features a display of works by the surgeon artist Henry Tonks.

Tonks (1862 - 1937) was a qualified surgeon and an artist, practising and teaching medicine but also producing artistic work and teaching at the Slade School of Fine Art, where he was Professor of Drawing. During the First World War, he initially joined the Royal Army Medical Corps but then, from April 1916, worked with Dr Harold Gillies at his plastic surgery unit at the Cambridge Hospital, Aldershot. This work then moved to a specially dedicated unit at the Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup, where Gillies and his team developed pioneering approaches to facial injuries sustained by soldiers at the front. The pastel drawings by Tonks in this exhibition date from this period and starkly document and illustrate these facial injuries and the progress of surgical interventions. Tonks' drawings not only serve as a record of the physical injuries and subsequent medical interventions but, by crossing into the field of portraiture, highlight some of the personal and emotional cost of these wounds and reveal Tonks' skill as an artist. This is the largest loan of his works from the Royal College of Surgeons to date.

This event will take place at the DLI and be followed by a wine reception. All are welcome.

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