The Tin Nose Shop: when plastic Surgery was just not enough

The Tin Nose Shop Portrait of work in progress, from the papers of Anna Coleman Ladd. Archives of American Art

Every war has its signature injury. In Afghanistan it the loss of limbs due to Improvised Explosive Devises. In the First World War it was a bullet in the face. It was a war characterised by new technology and al too often those who peeked over the lip of the trench found them selves caught by Machine Guns. Another technology in its infancy was Plastic Surgery,they could help some of the soldiers but when the surgery finished many were still found to be heavily disfigured. When the work of the Surgeons finished another department stepped in, ‘the Masks for Facial Disfigurement Department’ or the Tin Nose Shop as the Tommy’s called it. On a website about the male psyche I have included this silent film because its my favourite piece of WW1 footage. There is something so caring about this and I just love the attitude of the patients who seem delighted with their masks. It shows Francis Derwent Wood (the Programmes founder) and Anna Coleman Watts an American sculptress and painter who in 1917 opened the ‘Paris Studio for Portrait Masks’. For more information on this subject see gilliesarchives.org.uk and read, War of Nerves Soldiers and Psychiatrists 1914 – 1994, by Ben Shepherd

PS This is a silent film there are no subtitles just some remarkable people and images.

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