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Views & Reviews Medical Classics

Henry Tonks’s war pictures

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 12 January 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d101
  1. Jane Moore, general practitioner1, general practitioner trainer2
  1. 1The Molebridge Practice, Fetcham, Leatherhead
  2. 2Department of General Practice, King’s College London
  1. moore.jane{at}

Henry Tonks (1862-1937) was a surgeon before becoming an established artist and teacher at the Slade School of Art. At the outbreak of the first world war he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, was appointed an official war artist, and visited the western front several times. Tonks’s pictures record the consequences of the great war, which left 15 million people dead and countless more wounded. His pastels and watercolours combine anatomical accuracy and attention to detail with emotional understanding. These qualities are evident in Saline Infusion, which depicts the pain of the patient and …

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