A Girl Reads to a Convalescent while a Nurse Brings in the Patient's Medicine

Image credit: Wellcome Collection

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The sickroom of a chronically ill or convalescent young woman appears quite frequently in Victorian literature and fine arts. In part its popularity seems to reflect the domestic nursing arrangements for tuberculous patients. Tuberculosis of bones or lungs was a wasting disease affecting young as well as old, causing weakness and therefore allowing no exertion. Victims of tuberculosis would, if they could afford it, be nursed at home, in some cases over decades. There were also people recovering from acute illness such as cholera, smallpox, scarlet fever or typhoid, and many people would have been familiar with such a case. Family members developed nursing skills to take care of their relatives, and nursing was all the more important in the absence of efficacious pharmaceuticals.

Wellcome Collection



A Girl Reads to a Convalescent while a Nurse Brings in the Patient's Medicine


19th C


watercolour & ink on paper (?)


H 55.5 x W 71.2 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

presumed to be part of the collection formed by Henry S. Wellcome

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Wellcome Collection

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