Our laboratory Open Afternoons have long proven popular with supporters wishing to learn more about our research and meet the team undertaking the work. They offer donors a unique opportunity to see how the funds they have raised are being used in the fight against breast cancer.
Together with a tour of the facilities, guests can attend presentations about breast cancer and our research. They have the opportunity to meet the research team over a cup of tea to ask questions and, if they wish, to share their personal stories, often about what inspired them to get involved.
One of the more frequently asked questions on our tours relate to an illuminated picture we have of Bathsheba, In the picture (which depicts Bathsheba receiving her seduction letter from King David) Rembrandt used his mistress Hendrickje Stoffels, as his model.
It’s not known if Bathsheba had breast cancer, but Rembrandt was apparently a very careful artist who painted what he saw. So it’s possible that the skin puckering and discolouration of the left breast and swollen lymph nodes under the armpit area as depicted on Hendrickje was the result breast cancer.
Hendrickje died some 9 years later with symptoms of pleural effusion, although there are some suggestions this was from TB, the tentative suggestion is that she actually died from secondary breast cancer, the main cause of breast cancer related deaths.
You can read more about this painting and its clinical significance here.
Attending a open afternoon
If you are interested in attending one of our upcoming open afternoons at Oxford University, please contact us and we’ll be in touch.