September 8, 2008 §
Sculpture of William Spreckley.
I recently read about the reconstructive surgery performed by Harold Gillies at the Queen’s Hospital in Sidcup, UK, during World War I. A true pioneer, Gillies is credited with establishing the discipline of plastic surgery. He developed the pedicle tube flap technique and was the first to attempt an (unsuccesful) partial face transplant.
Reconstructive war surgery is usually associated with very graphic photos, not suited for everyone. But the British artist Paddy Hartley came up with an absolutely brilliant way to represent the work of Gillies.
Hartley has created a number of sculptures representing actual patients treated by Gillies. Each sculpture wears a leather mask showing the principles of the surgery done on his face. One of them represents William Spreckley, who’s nose was reconstructed using a paramedian forehead flap (photo credit).
The sculptures also wears their own history in the form of a jacket decorated with pictures and text detailing their injuries and surgery.
Harold Gillies own drawing of a cheek flap.
The jackets also include some of Harold Gillies’ own drawings of the different kinds of reconstruction done at Sidcup. (photo credit).
The project was originally an exhibition at the National Army Museum in 2005 (I think), but now only seems to exist on the web. Visit the Project Facade website to see more of Paddy Hartley’s sculptures, read about the patients depicted and watch a film from 1916 showing the making and fitting of tin facial prosthetics.