Charms and superstition
A new exhibition is now on display at the Wellcome Collection in London, which examines the importance of charms, amulets and superstitions throughout history. Here are some of the fascinating objects on show
Amulets have appeared throughout history and across many cultures in a variety of forms, each has been invested with the hope or belief that it could somehow mediate on behalf of its owner.
This exhibition is the result of the artist Felicity Powell’s engagement with a collection of 1,400 amulets assembled by the Edwardian amateur folklorist Edward Lovett (1852–1943).
Lovett lived in Croydon and during his life amassed a huge collection of objects, mostly relating to his passion for folklore, charms, amulets and superstitions. In 1916, he displayed his collection in an exhibition, The Folklore of London, which was held at the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum. In 1925 he published a book, Magic in Modern London.
Alongside Lovett's pieces are works created by Felicity Powell, which reflect on the potency – sometimes alluring, sometimes repellent – of these much-touched objects.
Felicity Powell – Charmed Life: The Solace of Objects is on display at the Wellcome Collection in London until 26 February 2012 and admission is free. To find out more about the exhibition and to watch a related film, visit the Wellcome Collection website.
Take a look at some of our other galleries, including the launch of Titanic and pioneers of polar exploration at www.historyextra.com/feature/galleries