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About this work
The earlier calendars in this series are in the most part illustrated with images of medical folklore and are arguably the most creative of the calendars contained in this series. For instance, they contain interesting tales which serve to entertain the reader, while simultaneously producing a natural contrast between the old unreliable medical folklore cures and the new effective medical cures, available in the form of Wellcome products.
There is a clear development of this theme in later editions of the Medical Folklore Calendar, where each folklore tale is proceeded directly by a desciption of the Wellcome product which offers the modern medical treatment or cure to the ailment in question. In the centenary edition, this strategy is clearly at work with an emphasis on the Wellcome ethos to respect exisiting medical traditions while also embracing modern medical innovations. In this way the folklore tales are seen to be working in harmony with Wellcome product development.
From the mid 1980s there is a move towards using different types of illustrations in the calendars, such as, illustrations of landscapes, architecture, art and inventions. These are often generic, for example, the 'Aerial views of Britan' calendar and the 'Wellcome Calendar of Stately Homes.' However, some of these calendars do relate directly to the company, for example, the Wellcome Calendar for 1985, (which is illustrated with images of mixtures of chemicals, each containing a Wellcome discovery) and the Wellcome Calendar for 1986, (which uses images from the Wellcome Foundation's headquarters at Crewe Hall).
The calendars demonstrate very clearly the international aspect of Burroughs Wellcome. This is evident in the earliest examples of calendars in this series, which are Chinese (WF/M/PB/31/01-02) and Portuguese (WF/M/PB/31/03) in style and in many of the examples of medical folklore calendars, which frequently contain tales from around the world. The presence of a French calendar and a calendar produced for Pakistan in this series, further serves to highlight the breadth and diversity of the company's overseas activity.
The two calendars produced by Burroughs Wellcome Co., USA, for their staff (WF/M/PB/31/40-41), are also interesting examples of the company's activities abroad. The 1985 calendar, for instance, is very much focused on the staff and clearly aims to motivate the workforce, by including images of the staff themselves at work and taking part in work-related social activities. In contrast, there is a definite shift in design for the following year's calendar, which is more stylised and illustrated with modern scientific images.