Mollie Lock (nee Lentaigne) was a VAD Red Cross Nurse, who became a Medical Artist working with Sir Archibald McIndoe doing her time at the Queen Victoria Hospital during the war years.
Mollie met McIndoe at a party where she was attempting to draw him. He was impressed by her skills, and asked her to join his team to help record the surgical procedures. McIndoe had previously tried to record his operations, both with other artists (who fainted at the blood) and using photography (which was affected by the reflections from the instruments). Mollie could complete a sketch in a few minutes, keeping up with the rapid pace of the operations.
A photograph from a newspaper article of Mollie Lentaigne at work during the war.
A pen and ink drawing of an operation on an unknown patient's hand.
By the end of the war, Mollie had drawn over 300 drawings for the many procedures carried out on the Hospital's patients. Many of the drawings were collected together in preparation to be sent to India, where Mollie's parents had moved to. However, by a quirk of fate, the drawings were never shipped, and they were stored at the Queen Victoria Hospital for many years.
Once the Hospital Museum was set up, the drawings were given to them. They were then passed onto the East Grinstead Museum along with the rest of Queen Victoria Hospital Collection. In 2012, Mollie was able to reconnect to her drawings when she visited the Museum.
Mollie has continued to draw throughout her life, moving from surgical drawings to landscapes of her home in Zimbabwe.
We would like to take this opportunity to wish Mollie many happy returns on this special day.
Some of her drawings are available to view online here.
A message from the Secretary of the Guinea Pig Club
"Mollie will be celebrating her 100th birthday on May 6th in her home town of Harare, Zimbabwe, and having had the pleasure in meeting her, together with some of the family in the past, they have kindly invited me to join them with their celebrations for this special occasion.
Unfortunately and with regret, I am unable to accept this invite, but I will be sending her my personal congratulations and best wishes for her special birthday , wishing her well on behalf of both the hospital, which she remembers with fondness, and the museum, who are safely holding, and preserving a collection of her medical drawings for the future"
Museum Trustee & Secretary of the Guinea Pig Club
Mollie Lock visiting the museum in March 2012