Beautifully Hideous: A new WW1 tale told by MedStats member Dr Jennifer Summers

Lead author Dr Jennifer Summers discusses the WW1 legacy of Pioneering Plastic Surgeon Harold Gillies and Surgeon turned Artist Henry Tonks.

Gillies’s surgical techniques laid the groundwork for the field of plastic surgery whilst also providing an enhanced outcome for many wounded soldiers.

For Tonks, his pastel drawings of Gillies new surgical techniques, whilst initially hidden from the public view, now provide a visual reminder of this historic period.

Recent exhibition and publication of the pastels, to wide public and critical acclaim, has provided great insight into the personalities and suffering of these men, which is of great relevance at the start of the First World War Centenary.

Private Ashworth. Reprinted in Wellcome History with permission from The Royal College of Surgeons, London, United Kingdom

Left to right: ‘Pvt. Ashworth before Surgery’ (1916), ‘Surgical Diagram for Pvt. Ashworth’ (1916) and ‘Pvt. Ashworth before discharge’ (1917), by Henry Tonks. Reproduced by kind permission of the Royal College of Surgeons, London