Accession No


Brief Description

papier mâché and plaster anatomical model of a human, plus manuscript or certificate, by Louis Thomas Jérôme Auzoux, French, 1848


France; Saint-Aubin-d'Écrosville [attributed]


Auzoux, Louis Thomas Jérôme


biology; physiology; demonstration

Earliest Date

Jan. 1, 1848

Latest Date

Dec. 31, 1848

Inscription Date


paper (papier mâché); plaster; metal (brass); wood; cloth


height 595mm; width 205mm; depth 180mm

Special Collection


Purchased from Trevor Philip and Sons Ltd., 75a Jermyn Street, London, SW1Y 6NP on 16/12/2002. Purchased with a grant-in-aid from the PRISM fund.


by hand on the right leg: Auzoux (unknown word) fecit (unknown word) 1848

Description Notes

Hand painted and varnished plaster and papier mâché anatomical model of a human. The model shows the musculature of the human figure and has detachable calf and thigh muscles on the left leg and detachable muscles on the left arm. The cranium opens to expose a removable brain and one side of the face also comes away. The torso of the figure can be completely removed to expose the detachable organs of the body. 24 pieces easily taken apart; up to 30 pieces in total, but some difficult to take apart (photos in 2021 condition report).

The figure is mounted standing upright on a metal rod protruding from a square wooden base covered in orange velour (not original).
The model comes with a 3 page handwritten manuscript or certificate in French.


Anna Maerker; 'Human models'; Explore Whipple Collections online article; Whipple Museum of the History of Science; University of Cambridge; 2008:


Until the 1870s, clinical training for medical students was available to only a select few. Confronted with a shortage of human remains for performing dissections, Louis Thomas Jérôme Auzoux (1797–1880) began to experiment with modeling human bodies as a student in 1816. Eventually he developed a special papier-mâché compound containing cork, clay, paper and glue, which was light and robust enough for creating clastic models and that could be disassembled to reveal internal anatomy. According to a report commissioned by the Académie Royale de Médecine in 1831, Auzoux’s anatomical models presented several advantages for public education: they circumvented a reliance on cadavers for medical training, they acted as a memory aid for provincial doctors, they replaced the flayed body that artists studied and they could be transported to the colonies for study by magistrates, military men and navigators who might require such knowledge. By welcoming and incorporating anatomical revisions from the Académie, Auzoux’s clastic models became emblematic of the forefront of anatomical knowledge. This model shows the musculature of the human figure. The muscles of the left calf, thigh and arm are detachable. The cranium opens to expose a removable brain, and one side of the face can be disassembled. The torso of the figure can be completely removed to expose detachable organs.

Created by: Allison Ksiazkiewicz on 05/11/2013


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