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A history of the Medical Artists' Association of Great Britain 1949-1997

Archer, PMA; (1999) A history of the Medical Artists' Association of Great Britain 1949-1997. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Medical Illustration has a long and interesting history, but as a profession it is relatively new. At the beginning of this century there was a small group of artists working in a freelance capacity for individual medical men, hospitals, medical schools and publishers. After World War II, artists began to be employed by hospitals and medical schools as members of staff. As a consequence of this new type of employment, one of the artists decided to form an association, and on 2 April 1949, the Medical Artists' Association of Great Britain was inaugurated. The Founder was Dorothy Davison, who had visited some of the other artists working at the time. She sought their advice and enlisted their help. The early development of this Association, is recorded in the words of the Founder Members. These are taken from the letters and documents written at the time. Once inaugurated, the Association developed quickly and was soon organizing its own Exhibitions, Conferences and a Training Scheme for young artists, which flourishes today and is connected with several Universities. Reports are given of the unsuccessful negotiations which took place with the Department of Social Security in an effort to be recognised as a professional body. Over thirty years the number of Departments of Medical Illustration increased and a comprehensive service of illustrative work was enjoyed by medical institutions throughout the country. In the 1980s, owing to financial cuts in the Universities and National Health Services, when posts became vacant they remained unfilled and some artists were offered early retirement or were made redundant. Now, in 1997, over fifty per cent of the Members of the Association are working in private practice. The situation has turned full circle and is similar to that at the beginning of the century.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: A history of the Medical Artists' Association of Great Britain 1949-1997
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10123916
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