Thursday 30 July 2009 - Sunday 18 October 2009
In the 19th century, despite the best efforts of body snatchers,
the demand from medical schools for fresh cadavers far outstripped
the supply. One solution to this gruesome problem came in the form
of lifelike wax models. These models often took the form of
alluring female figures that could be stripped and split into
different sections. Other models were more macabre, showing the
body ravaged by 'social diseases' such as venereal disease,
tuberculosis and alcohol and drug addiction.
With their capacity to titillate as
well as educate, anatomical models became sought-after curiosities,
displayed not only in dissecting rooms but also in sideshows and
the curiosity cabinets of wealthy Victorian gentlemen. For a small
admission fee, visitors seeking an unusual afternoon's
entertainment could visit displays of these strange dolls in
London, Paris, Brussels and Barcelona.
This exhibition explores the forgotten
history of the anatomical model, which with its unique combination
of serious science and fairground horror provides a rare insight
into 19th-century beliefs about the body.
This exhibition is
free. See opening
Please note that the exhibition contains explicit material that
some visitors may find disturbing. As such it is not
recommended for under-18s.
However, if you are planning to visit with younger visitors and
would like to make an informed decision about the exhibition's
suitability, please see our staff at the Information Point, where
images of the exhibits are available to view. More information for parents