Death becomes him

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 14 November 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7726
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

This installation by the artist June Leaf called Gentleman on Green Table is one of 300 works in a new exhibition at the Wellcome Collection devoted to death and people’s enduring desire to make peace with it.

Assembled by Richard Harris, a former antique print dealer who is based in Chicago, the collection includes rare prints by Rembrandt, Dürer, and Goya, together with anatomical drawings, war art, antique metamorphic postcards, human remains, and 20th century installations celebrating Mexico’s day of the dead.

Harris said, “It is my wish that what started out solely as a collection of objects based on the theme of death will become the visual component for a more serious conversation about the subject of death that we need to have in our society.”


Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7726


  • Death: A Self-Portrait (The Richard Harris Collection) runs until 24 February 2013 at the Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, NW1 2BE. For more information see