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Watercolour illustration of a swollen eyelid, England, 1900

Illustrations of medical conditions were taken from observations of patients to be used as teaching aids for students. This example by artist Peter Nairn (active 1891-1920) shows a swollen, damaged or diseased eyelid. The patient’s name (Nora Cave) is recorded in the top left hand corner, as is the date (9 May 1900).

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Glossary: ophthalmology

The branch of medicine dealing with the diseases and surgery of the visual pathways (usually the eyes or the brain).

Glossary: watercolour

Artists' paints made with pigment to be diluted with water and not oil.